The feeding tube and the desire to pound orange juice
We'll come back to it later. It's important.
I've more or less accepted that I'll be getting all nutrition through a tube in my stomach from now on, which means I can't take in anything that's not liquid and lump-free.
And now that I'm essentially Nil by Mouth 24/7, of course I want to consume everything that even remotely comes close to my head. Of course.
I get obsessive over particular foods. For a while I had a huge craving for really chilled fresh apple cider. We had some in the house so my mom could try it. The fact that I knew it was there, waiting quietly in the fridge for someone to take the whole bottle and just chug it (me? Is it me?? Oh ...it's not) was almost painful. I felt like Allie Brosh during her Cake episode.
And then it started to go all fermenty, so we threw it out. And the problem seemed to fix itself: no more craving.
Until the orange juice.
The apple had been the last thing I'd had to drink as a "normal" while I was in hospital (actually a delicious JP Licks' apple sorbet freeze). So at least I had some idea where that craving had come from.
But the orange juice had no similar origin story. And yet here I was, fixating on glasses of OJ in magazine ads, or staring at the pitcher of bright juice on the TV family's breakfast table, all but wanting to run onto the soundstage and yell, "What's wrong with you people? You want to let this go to waste??" before grabbing the jug from a surprised TV mom and pounding the entire thing.
This time, I thought, I'll be smart about it. Rather that ignoring the need altogether, I'd meet it head-on.
I got a 6oz box of Tropicana and a straw. I curled up in the only position in which I can reliably drink water without it coming out of every orifice (on my side, curled in a ball). I started to drink.
Hm. Is that all there is to juice?
Yep, somehow the fantasy of orange juice had far outweighed the reality. I even tried squeezing a fresh orange, to see whether that made a big difference. And while it is markedly better than the pasteurized stuff, it's still OJ.
After thinking about this a lot, I've worked out a way to approach the cravings that deals with them more effectively.
Think about your own history with food. You must have a Platonic ideal that comes to mind when you think "donut" or "steak" or "wine." Why is that pie from that diner in Maine the best ever? Because you'll never have another like it.
And you can go through life with the knowledge that it's probably still available, and probably will be just as good, even if the context and situation are different. Or maybe it's the diner you'd always stop at on your way home from the weeks' vacation, so it has a special meaning.
Which brings us back to the egg at the top of the page. This was the dessert at the much-described three-hour lunch at Club Allard in Madrid, a meal that, in itself, will never be topped. The egg's outside shell was made of chocolate, carefully painted with metallic paints. The white was coconut and the yolk was mango.
It was one of the greatest things I've ever eaten in my life. And I'll never eat it again. But it that reason to complain or become obsessive? Of course not.
I just need to apply this thinking to every sandwich, piece of chocolate, slice of cake, banana milkshake and plate of cheese I come across.
Wish me luck.