Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Can't Eat or Drink, but I Can Be Merry

It has been over seven years, since I last had a bite of food, or a sip of a drink. I lost the ability to swallow after I had a surgery to repair a hole between my trachea and esophagus. The doctor preserved my ability to speak, but was unable to save my ability to swallow. All my food and liquid is delivered directly to my stomach through a feeding tube inserted into my abdomen. My food is a liquid formula. Four times a day, I receive my formula and water. All my medications, vitamins, and supplements, are also taken through the feeding tube. Barring some miracle cure, I will never regain my ability to swallow.

Not being able to swallow would be considered by many people to be a terrible thing to deal with. At first, it was difficult not being able to eat my favorite foods, or to see people eating. I had dreams of food. Visions of pizza filled my head. But, over time, I learned to put these things in the back of my mind. At times, I still think or dream of food, but I am not wracked with a sense of loss. I adjusted to no longer being able to walk, and to no longer breathing on my own, so I have adjusted to not eating.

No longer being able to swallow is not all bad. I no longer have to worry about choking or aspirating. I don't give any thought to what to eat, I save money by not eating out or shopping at the supermarket, and I don't have to eat foods I don't like. No scallops, liver, or brussel sprouts. I will never get a chance to try haggis, tripe, or sweetbread. Life is not over because I can no longer swallow.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

John, thanks for your post. It reminds me to appreciate every minute, no matter the circumstances, no matter the difficulty. Happy holidays. Pat

Unknown said...

Very inspiring post John! I have found that some of the greatest joys in life do come from learning to live "without," which makes everything else that much more rewarding. It was great to see you at the Inn - Merry Merries! - Bridget

Caren said...

bless you John, my name is Caren and I have SMA which leads me a quadriplegic. My husband has to do everything for me I cannot feed myself but at least I can eat and swallow and breathe on my own which I thank God for every night because I know that can publisher, change. You are an inspiration to every disabled person and should be for everyone. you have a great attitude!