Saturday, February 21, 2015

If You Get Hungry Enough You'll Eat

"If you get hungry enough you'll eat," I heard in the hospital, but firmly disagreed. I was hungry, but I was not going to eat most of the disgusting looking and tasting food served in the hospital cafeteria. Everything looked brown or beige to me, and even the fruit didn't look normal. My first day there I ate a banana, one of the strangest looking bananas I've ever seen, and wondered how they could manage to make fruit taste and look bizarre.

I have some OCD tendencies, particularly towards food. I would go down to the cafeteria, sit down at a table with whichever patients seemed to have the best hygiene and I would try to eat. I couldn't force myself to eat because when I did I could feel that I was going to throw up. The food had been exposed to germs, or so I believed, and reality was it was probably true. Everything is exposed to germs. Once I sat across from young guy who continued to sneeze in my direction, making the prospect of eating my food even more of an impossibility.

The only food I trusted was food that came sealed, like cereal or cookies. So I lived on carbs, primarily Oreos, or some other kind of snack, and cereal, with grilled cheese being an exception. A friend from my floor, and I on occasion would manage to get whoever was cooking that day to make us a grilled cheese. Those sandwiches were the only real sustenance I was getting, that is, if you consider grilled cheese sustenance, compared to the rest of my diet, it was.

My last night in the hospital, I couldn't stop crying and shaking. My clothes had begun to hang off my body, and I had started to grow weak from not eating (I was getting maybe 300 calories per day). One day they served us spoiled milk which gave several of us diarrhea for days, zapping my energy even more. I had hit a wall and was so hungry that I was willing to eat anything. That evening, when dinner was delivered to our floor, I had grown so weak and sickly that I was eating everything in sight. All the food that I wouldn't dream of touching, even earlier that day, I devoured. I didn't taste anything. I just needed the awful feeling of deep hunger to go away, and it took a lot of food to make that happen.

It was at that point that I understood the words that I had hated hearing, "If you get hungry enough you'll eat." I was and I did. And I hope that I am never in that position again.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! From this post it sounds like the hospital experience was very trying. It doesn't really sound positive, but I'm looking at it through your eyes, thoughts, and feelings. Did you have therapy sessions during that time?