Memorial Day is a food day, a day of swimming and barbecue and homage to those who have Taken One for the American Team. That being said, while I can Thank the Team, I cannot celebrate in true Memorial day style, having not had more than scant liquids for over a week. Yesterday I looked at my pathetic self in the mirror, dizzy and woobly (yes, one of my very own special words pronounced Woo (like pooh)-bly) and said: Are you a man or a mouse? Get your wimpy butt in the kitchen and get some food!
There is a tradition in my family for Persons With Very Sore Throats. It is the Egg Custard. The Egg Custard is an old family recipe concocted in the days when a hot toddy was the drug of choice for respiratory ailments, but too strong for the poor soul who could not cope with large amount of spirits forced down one’s inflamed throat. It is like silk. One hardly needs to swallow, it just slips down oh-so-gently. I am not a fan of food slippage (jello makes me yak) but when ill it is very comforting. And being full of protein and other good stuff, it is nourishing as well. My mom made this mystical dish yesterday, but I was too knocked up to try it. Today I eyed it with suspicion. It was thicker then what I wanted as my first meal. Should I try it or look at what I had bought? I looked over my pre-bought items. Cream of Wheat–ensure–pudding–baby food.
I looked at the baby food. So it has come to this. I bought it as a backup, backup, backup plan. And I carefully chose the type that would not inflict too much embarrassment. Blueberry-applesauce. Actually, when my kids were babies, I secretly ate more than I fed them. It is the baby food bomb. But at 60 calories, it wasn’t even a snack. More like a snackette, and I needed FOOD. So I went to the Egg Custard and put a small amount in a dish. Gingerly I took a tiny amount. And the slippery little sucker did what it has always done and slid right down with hardly a swallow. I slowly slid the rest in and felt a bit better.
My tummy was happy for quite a while. But eventually it wore off around dinner time (it is a creature of habit still) and I woefully went to the fridge again. Still the same choices. “No more Egg Custard”, said my stomach. “I want food. Real food. Now get me some.” Sitting in the center of the fridge was a plate of spaghetti. I looked at that spaghetti. I drooled more than usual. I wanted that spaghetti. Now. I thought, “Ok, it’s time to come out of Wimpville. You need to Get a Grip and once you try it, you will see that everything is fine.” So I took the spaghetti, doused it with tons of sauce to make it slippery and cut it in tee-iny pieces. Then popped a small amount in my mouth.
I forgot that one’s tongue moves food around. I held it in stasis as immediate discomfort assailed me. Well, gotta move the tongue at some point, so I gingerly wiggled it a bit. And was met with a most unpleasant surprise. The stupid spaghetti was POKING my stitches! STAB-STAB-STAB. Wincing with every movement, I powered it down and it about powered itself right back up. I actually started to sweat.
Pep talk time. “Ok, you know now what to expect. You got it down. Now take another, it will get better.” I am a stupid stubborn person at times. My first phrase as an 18 month old (yes I was way advanced) was “I can’t want to”. The story of my life. Clenching my jaw, I scooped up another scant portion and plopped it in. The same sensation only raspier. This one left residual throbbing and scratchiness. Oi-vey. Ok, three more bites. Not because it tasted good, I really couldn’t taste it at all, but because I went to all this effort. Three more exponentially painful bites later and, eyes watering, I pitched it in disgust. Now I had a nasty throbbing pain from top to bottom of my throat. And I refused to go get Oxycodone and sit with a bag under my chin all night from nauseated side effects. Horrible stuff.
I had begged for some viscous lidocaine from my surgeon before leaving the hospital. He said no, on the grounds that I wouldn’t know if I was bleeding or not, and that if I had pain with eating I had to stop. The viscous lidocaine was therefore too dangerous. I wanted to rip this throat open, but I instead hung my head and felt abused. Now I had a throbbing throat and no way to stop it. Casting about for a solution I looked in the fridge again. Any my wayward eye saw my salvation. Alcohol! It would numb it nicely!
I have a love of hard apple cider, having spent the Most Amazing Semester in England in college. Hard cider is a staple in the pubs, the cultural lifeblood of the country. I was not a frequent visitor, but when I did go I savored that drink and thought to never see it again. Imagine my delight when go old USA started carrying it. I use it rarely as I am not supposed to drink and it is high in calories. But the alcohol content is so low, and the yummy factor is so high, that every great once in a while I have a glass. I looked at that cider with eyes probably as large as Puss in Boots. It CALLED to me. “I am high in calories and I am cold and I will numb your throat, I promise!”
I grabbed it and opened the bottle with great difficulty, being weak, and spilled about 1/4 of it. Ahhhh! Just my luck. After cleaning it up (no I didn’t lick it, only because I can’t get my mouth open much), I did lick the opening. Not enough. So I put a miniscule amount in my medicine cup and took a tiny sip. Ye-ouch. But tolerable. After a few more sips, my throat started to get a little numb, and I sipped the rest down.
I have an alcohol intolerance. Probably an allergy to sulfites. I drink a small amount and I get numb all over and dizzy and then my head goes into the clouds. In my naughty days I was The Life. No more of that for me. Hard cider is one of the few beverages that don’t do this. But I miscounted my empty stomach and general state of malnutrition. Yup, my throat was numb but so was the rest of me. I tottered to my chair and laid in a daze for the rest of the evening.
My husband came down and saw me staring at nothing. “What’s up?”
“I drank alcohol because my throat hurt.”
That took him a minute. Hands on hips he grunted, “Hmmph” Then, “That wasnt too smart. You drank alcohol on an empty stomach I see. Plus, that sounds painful. Did it work?”
“It was, sorta, and, yup, I think it did, kinda.”
“Hmmph. I’m making dinner. You want more egg custard?”
“I guess….um, can you bring me the baby food too?’
Grinning he replied, “Only if I get to take a picture of you eating it in the original container.”
If I could, I would have stuck my tongue out at him. Beastly man.
Ever resourceful, I Had a Thought. I’m going to try ice cream tomorrow (too thick to tolerate so far) BUT I will do the apple cider thing first. Surely that will work……..