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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not a Great Week

My husband is in surgery having a Vitrectomy eye surgery. I wait.

When we got the date, the memories of past hospitalization that I kept suppressed, started surfacing in bits—his hip repair, the cataract on the left eye, the cataract on the right, the peritoneal implant, and multiple amputations of the right foot and leg. With each memory came the need to eat.

Not surprising, as I had plumped-up ninety pounds in the past three years, the solution to all my stress rotated around eating. Candy bars, cookies, French fries, and burgers equaled comfort. With days turning into weeks and months of hospital bed vigils, food became a reliable friend to meet the anguish and frustration wrapped around an ailing husband.

As you know, I had to battle that pattern to lose forty-two pounds these past four months.

But this week, I slipped back into old patterns. No French Fries. However, the raw chocolates sitting in the refrigerator started to call to me on a daily basis. I had a half of chocolate after dinner then one lunch and finally I threw them in the trash—with no regrets. The next day, the Medjool Dates container somehow sat on the counter. I had two, three, four, and more before they were put away. I drank less water. I ate more peanut butter. By Sunday, I wanted to eat every half hour.

This morning on the scales, my backsliding showed in a one pound weight gain. Skipping breakfast, because Paul had to fast for the surgery, I pledged to not shove my emotions onto a spoon and push them down to my waistline. So after sending him to surgery, I wandered down to the hospital cafeteria.

At a quarter to one, the food line was crowded with staff, doctors, nurses, and waiting loved ones like me. I found the salad bar, made a spinach salad with egg, grabbed a fruit bowl, water, and headed to the register.

The gentleman in scrubs in front of me had grill cheese sandwich with the specialty of the day tomato bisque soup. The couple behind me had Diet sodas, cheeseburgers with fries, and cookies. I found a table to share with a hospital administrator. She finished a plate of fried fish and fries. She left but came back with a coffee, scone, and pudding. In the entire room of predominately hospital personnel, not one person opted for a lunch of fresh vegetables and fruit as I did. The majority had a sugary-based treat to go with the popular greasy dishes.

Okay, I know that these places are set up with the desserts first, ice cream and candy bars close to the register, and fried foods being the order of the day. But this is a hospital. Shouldn’t the cafeteria be a little more proactive in the food offering?

The salad bar really sums up the intent. Start with spinach leaves and lettuce in the big bins. Next fried tofu mixed with veggies in an oil dressing, potato salad, macaroni salad, and a mix of spaghetti and veggies in a large bowls. The smaller bowls offered cucumbers, beets, olives, egg, beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, green beans, peppers, and corn. The end of the display housed five dressings—one low calorie—and toppings of sunflower seeds, raisins, and croutons. The salad bar included fried food and pasta. How easy would it be for anyone to add the calorie laden offering when dishing up a salad?

I recently read an article in Raw Food magazine. The traveling writer started with this theme, don’t leave home without food. The thought is that in the real world—outside of your home—sugar, fat, and carbs lurk around every corner. She traveled with carrots, apples, and almonds.

For me, it’s water. I need water to cut hunger and make me say no to the bad stuff. So here I am waiting for Paul to sail through his surgery, armed with a bottle of Calistoga.