Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Perils of Being Laura

Some of you will have already heard these hilarious stories via Twitter, but others of you don't do the Twitter thing, even though you could follow me and I would entertain you while you walked around through your daily routine, on a much regular basis than I do here. Entertain you, that is.

Wow. What a sentence.

I'm trying to remember the little things that might have been funny and/or interesting in my life lately. And really, only one thing seems to be happening that has any effect on my life. And that is nausea.

Oh, to be able to eat REAL food...I remember the days when I could go out and grab a hamburger and eat it without fear! But alas, no longer. That brings us to a list:

(Click to embiggen)

As you can see, there is no protein on the list. That's handy, right? I mean, that's a really great way to stay healthy, eating no protein. And I can't take multi-vitamins because they make me sick too. And so do those protein shake things. I know. I've tried.

Is it possible to be allergic to protein? If so, does that mean no more Chicken Parmesan?

And here is what I cannot eat:

(Again, click to embiggen)

I should have put "pop" on there, because drinking fizzy things hurts too.

Now, one might think, "Hey, Laura! You might have an ulcer!" My sources say, "No, Laura. You have no ulcer. But you should think about taking this pill to reduce your stomach acid production."

I am now taking said pill. There has been no obvious change, as yet, but it has only been a couple of days.

So what does a meal look like these days, you ask? Well, for lunch I am having chicken noodle soup without the actual chunks of chicken, with carrots in there for color (and a little food value, maybe). I made the soup myself with organic, low-sodium chicken stock--just in case--and it gets along with my stomach pretty nicely. I am also having yogurt, which is okay in small amounts. Who knows what I will do for dinner.

Sadly, my stomach problems arrived just after my discovery of Smitten Kitchen. By "discovery" I mean Rachael told me about it for the second time, but this time I don't have dial-up anymore and can actually enjoy it.

Sadly, I am limited mostly to her various baked goods. Except, that isn't TOO sad, because her baked goods are AMAZING. I've made scones, blackberry (and blueberry) buttermilk cake, and Blueberry muffins. I also made a chicken pot pie (yum!) but I couldn't eat much of it. I had a little. It hurt. But everyone else loved it. It vanished in a single day, and I didn't even cook it for an actual meal. I also tried her chicken tacos. Those hurt terribly. That was when I swore off the meat (for a while). But that's a fantastic recipe too.

This whole experience has taught me something I find a bit upsetting. I try very hard to lose the extra weight I put on post-college. See, after the sheer panic and waves of anxiety and stress that college gave me right around midterms and finals stopped ruling my day to day routine, I relaxed. People say stress makes you fat. I think I was giving myself a great cardio session every time I walked into certain classes. Because once I stopped having classes--BAM! Laura became big(er). Big enough that I had to buy new pants, and you all know how much I hate shopping for pants.

I have tried running, cutting out fattening foods, jumping, carrying heavy things, lifting heavy things, yoga, bike riding...I've tried a lot. There was really no noticeable change. But the second I started not being able to eat and being so sick from certain types of food that I threw said food up, I started losing weight.

So far, I have lost a PANT SIZE. I mean it. And as happy as I am that I am getting rid of an unhealthy part of me, I am even more UNHAPPY that this is how it's leaving. This is not a good way to lose weight. It is UNCOMFORTABLE.

I have to say, I understand that anorexia and bulimia stem from a mental dysfunction now more than ever. Luckily, I've not had a time when I couldn't eat anything. I just can't eat the things I really want to have. And I can deal with that. Just because it isn't a gourmet Italian and/or Indian dish doesn't mean I will turn up my nose and refuse to eat it. I am insanely hungry. Like, really, really hungry. Crazy hungry. All I can think is that you'd have to be pretty bad off to choose to be that hungry all the time, or hungrier, because you aren't eating anything at all. I at least get bread. And peaches. And apples. And muffins.

I also feel really weak. Too weak to knit sometimes. Because the repetitive motion tires my arm muscles. So no real Austin Hoodie progress. And the hungry is keeping me up at night. Yesterday when my nurse practitioner came in the library, I asked her if she could come back later with a saline IV just to keep me moving. She laughed. But I was totally serious.

I am not adding the Evil foods back into my diet for a while longer out of fear. But while I'm waiting to eat them, I am making a list of all the foods I want to eat that I have to wait to enjoy. Then, when I can have them, I will go out and get them. Because I am just that hungry.

To distract myself from hunger, I seem to be falling down a lot. I don't know if this is a related issue or my usual clumsiness, but standing next to me has been dangerous enough to require a hard hat and safety goggles. Being me has required them too. Not only did I almost-break a toe due to a bad fall (out of bed), I also knocked over a jar with disastrous results.

You know beets? How they're used as a natural dye? Yeah. Well, Mom bought Harvard Beets, a gross-but-somehow-appealing part of Mom's diet. She opened the jar and had some, then popped it in the fridge.

For you to understand the Science of what next befell those beets, you must understand what Harvard beets are. They are beets. Just your average beet, quartered, then seasoned and/or pickled, then packed in a kind of thick beet-y liquid that tastes good on cream cheese.

I was reaching for the unsalted butter (needed for scones) when the jar liberated itself from the shelf where it sat. Then, without hitting the fridge at all, the bottom disc of glass separated itself from the body of the jar, which then collapsed inward as the whole glass-beet-goo mixture exploded onto me, the floor, and the inside of the fridge.

Normally, when I drop a jar, it makes a loud noise, I examine it carefully, discover it to be unbroken, and I put it back in the fridge.

Not this time. This time, it exploded instantly.

Now, to understand the full magnitude of the exploding Harvard beet jar, you must go back with me, back to when Laura was a wee girl of two and her mother and father had just bought a little house by the river in the country with plenty of space for their new baby (Paul). Mom instantly decided to "do something about" the kitchen. It needed some attention, seriously. She called my grandmother, her mother-in-law, who has always had excellent taste when it comes to decorating a room. She then asked, "What should I do about the kitchen?"

My grandmother advised carpet.

I honestly think, now, that the carpet suggestion was Grandma's way of sabotaging her daughter-in-law's attempts at home decor. She never carpeted HER kitchen, you see. And poor, naive Mom, who had never even handled a knife before she married my dad, trusted and believed. The carpet was purchased, installed, and regretted.

The one bonus? Cans don't dent when you drop them and glasses don't break. Neither to jars. Not normally, at least.

So. Back to the beets.

When the jar hit the ground it exploded like a bomb, and with it came the beet juice, which was absorbed by the carpet like the dye that it is.

I stared at the beet juice. The beet juice stared back (it can do that). "Moooommm!" I called from where I stood, barefoot in broken glass. "Something terrible has happened!"

"What was it?" Mom asked from her place on the couch, where she was knitting HER Austin hoodie. "Do I want to know?"

"You really don't," I said.

She came then, and we cleaned the mess. I spot-treated my jeans, thanking heaven that I'd just ordered some new ones online that morning.

It was a really good thing that our Labor Day weekend plans were to (1) paint the kitchen and (2) rip up that awful carpet, because that carpet is finished. There is no coming back from the beet juice. Our kitchen carpet, which had held on for many more years than we wanted to keep it, was pronounced dead on Sunday, August 29, at 9:45 p.m.

And I am waiting not-quite-patiently for my new pants to come, because those were the only jeans that fit me following the Great Starvation-Induced So-This-Is-What-Cholera-Feels-Like Weight Loss of 2010.

Darn, am I hungry...maybe we have some ice cubes in the freezer that I can let melt on my tongue. That feels like food, right? Right?


  1. Eventually, you get over the 'I can't eat ____' and get used to what you can eat. For the most part, those 'illegal' foods will no longer be attractive to you. (I can smell cinnamon in most foods and turn up my nose at it.) There are a few things, if cooked well, I can eat in small doses. It will get better. I promise.