14 September 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

Pepper Puss

Life, life is a pigsty. Life is a pigsty
And I’d been shifting gears all along my life
But I’m still the same underneath
This you surely knew

It's been a peculiar year. I've been ill for nearly half of it. And working like a demon on hot coals for the remainder of the time, in an awkward and uncomfortable business culture.

This is the year my Aunts were diagnosed with bowel cancer and their brothers had polyps discovered in their colons. I underwent testing for a variety of things as a consequence.

Our dear friend Ben died suddenly in Bali. Then recently, I lost one of my oldest friends, my familiar and companion of 16years, a dear sweet cat named Pepper. 

I don't like to dwell on the bad, but I spent months barely able to draw breath this year, and was without a voice from the start of April until early August. There were weeks where my lung capacity was so reduced, that I was warned I might have a heart attack.

My body shut down. I was weak. I couldn't think. I couldn't speak. I was in no man's land. But my saving grace was Twitter.

Reading my Twitter stream of food loving tweeps' comments jollied me along and possibly prevented me from feeling depressed by my situation. The kindness of those who extended their commiserations touched my heart.

The Mental Oriental Parentals were otherwise occupied with their Grey Nomad lifestyle and Mr Sticki had compressed himself into a pirate music torrent and morphed into the laptop. From bed, I had to send him an email downstairs to attract his attention. So Twitter became my cultural and emotional umbilical chord.

From living vicariously through the planning of tweetups and the eat-n-tweet of Duckfest and Suckling Pigapalooza, to simply listening-in to the day to day of people's lives and the tweets accompanying food shows, it kept me hanging in there. From my sickbed, wearing an oxygen mask, I was still happily able to engage with the outside world.

Twitter worked for me when I couldn't concentrate on DVDs. Lacking focus, 140 character tweets were the maximum length I was capable of digesting at any given moment; perfect.

I thought of food often. Mr Sticki, the Trophy Husband - more accustomed to pleasing himself - was not initially programmed to take care of me, and at times forgot to feed me until late at night. But it didn't matter, I lacked an appetite.

I did manage to teach him some new dishes using Speak It an iPhone app that speaks aloud on behalf of the vocally dysfunctional. After six weeks working with a Speech Pathologist my vocal chords switched back on. And eventually Mr remembered that we were in possession of cookbooks. Things looked up from that point and he even ventured out to farmers' markets without me.

I'm back at work now. But I'm counting down the sleeps as in just a few weeks we will finally be on holiday. The beacon that is beckoning me towards the finish line is a lunch reservation in October at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant in England. Sigh. I'm referring to it as the #FatDuck50 trip, as it is The Trophy Husband's 50th birthday present.

The dilemma it has thrown up is how will I cope with the 12 course degustation? Eating small portions for months has shrunk my appetite considerably. Over the weekend I dined out on a two course meal plus a shared dessert, with aperitif and matched wine, only to leave feeling turgid and bilious. It was a feeling that intensified the following day. Mr Sticki felt full, yet fine. Only I felt that my gut was organizing a mutiny and enlisting various other organs in its quest to digest.

Should I train up and endeavour to increase my capacity? I don't think I want to. My father has elderly onset diabetes and I am very mindful of what's in my diet as a consequence.

The website of the Fat Duck recommends allowing four hours to eat the meal. Perhaps that will be sufficient to aid the digestion?


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1 comment:

Injera said...

What a year you've had. And even with all that has been going on, you've been as generous and sharing as ever on Twitter and with this blog.

Enjoy the trip - it sounds as though it will be a blinder! Masterchef's Claire, in one of the few columns that has made it (odd question marks and all) to the online Age, has some tips that seem to be just what you are looking for regarding dego training: