Monday, March 23, 2009

Deathbed Requests for Food

I don't know if this is common or not, but when I started eating healthier, I was known to make deathbed requests for food. Every so often, I'd tell my children "When I'm on my deathbed, I want you to bring me a Haagen Dazs Ice Cream bar with the chocolate and almonds on the outside." I had memories of how heavenly that was and knew it would cause me problems (allergies, asthma, you name it) if I ate it now. But I figured on my deathbed, I'd be on my way out anyway, so let me enjoy it one last time before I go. I made many amendments to my deathbed request list. I know I requested a few kinds of pizza. I've had many thoughts about the kind of pizza my friend Gaylene's mom made when I was growing up. It was the king of homemade pizzas! I learned to make it in high school -- maybe my mom could do it, but if I outlive her, then that wouldn't work too well. I could teach my kids how to make it, but do they need all that meat piled up on top? Not really. They mixed ground beef, sausage and onions, put it under the cheese, then put thick chunks of pepperoni on top. The thought now actually makes me shudder. I don't think I could eat it even on my deathbed. But I do have good memories of how great it tasted then.

Back to the Haagen Dazs bar, that was my first request I had come up with. A year or so later, I was on vacation with my youngest daughter (we'd taken my older daughters and their friends to a youth conference and had all week to do whatever until it finished). We went swimming at a different pool each day. My daughter had just learned to swim and where we live, we don't have hot summers, so outdoor pools are a rarity. When we go on vacation, we're like magnets to outdoor pools. We love to go swimming outside -- to experience getting so hot that we want to jump in the pool -- getting tired and wanting to dry off in the heat of the sun. During this time, she started getting comfortable with the diving board. I told her that if she jumped off the board many times, I'd let her pick out a treat. She chose the Haagen Dazs bar. We'll, it's not much more money to buy a box of 4 than it is to just buy a single (and not all places even sell singles). So we bought a box.

It was August and I used to justify eating dairy in August because my allergies and asthma stopped bothering me by mid-July and really didn't start up again until September. August was my dairy window. So I had the Haagen Dazs bar. I couldn't even finish it. Sure it was tasty at first, but it was so rich that I couldn't keep going. I had to cross that off my deathbed list.

I used to request certain flavors of ice cream for my deathbed too (in my initial deathbed painting, there would be a big truck outside with the back open, ramp coming down, men with dollies dragging the crates of food into my bed). But the last time I had an ice cream cone, it felt like someone was coating my insides with thick paint -- it was way too creamy and didn't feel good at all. A few more requests no longer desired.

I guess it was kind of like when the Boutenko kids (Sergei and Valya, now young adults) started eating all raw foods with their parents -- they would dream up what they'd eat once they turned 18 and didn't have to follow their parent's ways anymore. They eventually loved eating just raw foods though and have since written books, teach seminars, etc.

If I really ever do get on a deathbed, I doubt I'll even want any of the unhealthy foods I've given up. I'm scanning my brain for any right now and can't come up with any. I used to think cheesecake was the end all, but the last time I took a sample of that at Costco, I got a buzzing headache within about 10 minutes. It wasn't worth the few seconds of taste.

When I was really sick a few weeks ago, a friend of ours asked my husband what sickness I had. At that point, it hadn't even gotten to my lungs, so we weren't sure what was going on. I was just weak in bed for days with aches, pains all over, and couldn't do much of anything but stare at the wall and hope the time would pass. When night came, I felt like crying, because I hadn't been able to sleep during the day and struggled with it for more than maybe 20 minutes at a time at night. Each day I'd think "Well, tomorrow will be a little better" and it would somehow be worse. My husband answered our friend with "She has deathbed sickness," not meaning that I was on my way out, but that this must be what it feels like to be on your deathbed. It was partially his dry humor emerging, but I thought that was a pretty accurate guess of what it would feel like to be on a deathbed.

Interestingly enough, the only food I ever wanted was fruits or vegetables. At first, I only ate one or two fruits a day. I couldn't eat much more -- didn't desire much more. One night I woke up and couldn't breathe (the nebulizer was no help) and I had 1/2 an orange by my side. I ate a few pieces very slowly and was able to go back to sleep. A few days later, I craved some vegetable soup. I couldn't eat much, but it was nice going down. A few days more of just a few pieces of fruit, then the thought of steamed veggies and brown rice sounded amazing. I didn't have all the goods in the fridge, but when my friend Cherie called (who cooks that all the time), I made a special request and she brought me some. I never once wished I had ice cream, pizza, or even chocolate. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I still don't want it (okay, maybe I want chocolate -- not this second, but late in the afternoon, it always sounds good). So maybe I'm growing -- ever so slowly at times, but in a healthy direction at least.

I'm off to the store to get some food for our family. Like old Mother Hubbard, our cupboards are bare! I really need to get serious about planting a garden (and getting our fruit trees to produce more) so I don't have to run to the store so often. We go through a LOT of fruit. Hopefully we'll all learn to go through a lot of veggies someday too. TTFN!

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