I spent Monday morning in the ER.
Plagued with severe stomach and chest pains that developed over the weekend, I got up and drove myself to Emergency Room in Provo after lying (well, mostly sitting scrunched up in the fetal position) awake most of the night.
There I spent four hours getting poked and prodded, wires and tubes attached to my fingers and arms. I talked with a doctor about Boy Meets World and tried to ignore the mysterious pain (and embarrassment of even going to the ER) that I hoped they would be able to alleviate.
Turns out, I have a lovely (and by lovely I clearly mean the horrible, awful, you-can-die kind) stomach virus.
I wouldn’t have thought much of this incidence in terms of food before, besides the feeling of agonizing nausea that food seems to provide my current condition. But it has been significant to recognize that we don’t often seem to appreciate food until it is taken from us, or doesn’t provide us the usual benefits. And I know that I’m a weak testament to this fact; there are millions around the world suffering from hunger, or other inhibiting medical conditions that understand this all too well. But as I’ve limited my diet mostly to bananas, toast, and yogurt for my stomach’s sake, I have considered in more depth the rituals, as well as the enjoyment that food provides, that have been interrupted. And how might these incidences of illness or trauma affect future (and present!) food relationships?
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been seriously ill. I’ve gotten into the habit of not getting sick very often, (a condition I obviously and probably poorly assume is my own doing) a condition I happen to be extremely fond of. But recent illness has brought back memories of excess cotton candy- or nacho-induced vomiting that has to this day, disturbed the enjoyment of those foods ever again. It brings back uncomfortable face-to-porcelain memories…
Food presents a means whereby many different kinds of memories, details, and moments can be can be stored (the good, the bad, and the ugly). It so perfectly collects these moments in our lives that are meaningful and significant. I think that’s pretty amazing.