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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 284 - Eating To Live

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please drop by Beth's site for some great marriage resources and her own deep wisdom.

You probably wouldn't like my diet.

Breakfast is a couple of white-cheddar rice cakes.

Lunch is a bowl of rice with protein powder (rice-based) and lean chicken, mixed with orange juice and ketchup.

Dinner is a bowl of rice with unflavoured brewers yeast powder and a pat of low-fat margarine.

I think that defines the expression 'acquired taste', don't you?

What you can read into this is that it's a very low-fat and low-sugar diet, because my pancreas isn't processing either of them well.

I have to eat to live, and not for enjoyment. If I can tolerate what keeps me going, I'm not going to experiment, because culinary adventures that used to be fun can now cause discomfort, outright pain, or can trigger a serious setback.

And that situation, for a spouse-caregiver, can be sneakily frustrating.

Sharing meals is a cornerstone of every society, and most certainly every marriage. Our dates involved food; weddings always include a feast, and special occasions in a shared life are marked by breaking bread together.

Oops. Can't really stomach most breads any more.

So there's the problem; one of the strongest links between people, by custom and nature, is broken. We're not eating the same food (I mean, would you???) and even eating together's hard, because when you're sick you eat when you can. Dinnertime is when you can face a meal.

It's easy to resent this; it takes away something, and it's unfair.

When Barb can eat, it's hard for me to be there, because it's one of my worst times of day...and by the time I can stomach even a small meal, it's close to midnight and she's gone to bed.

There are some ways to make this less difficult and less of a relationship strain, though:

  • Be together at mealtime when you can. When Barb's eating, I try to be in the room, and at least have something available to drink (a shot of Jack...I wish!) so that the spirit of breaking bread together can be observed.
  • Find new ways to be together. I can't watch anyone eat, so I sit turned slightly away (and I sit on the floor anyway, because chairs hurt).
  • Share an activity during a mealtime...this is one case where watching TV during dinner can be a really good thing. The dude or lady who can't eat is distracted, but it's shared time.
  • When you have foods you can still share, make the most of them. I can eat nonfat low-sugar ice cream (whee) and Barb can eat the good stuff...but they're both still ice cream! We can have a bowl together, and at least share the experience.
What suggestions do you have, to make a shared meal possible in the face of adversity?

A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.

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  1. I get the meal thing. There was a very long period of time where I just ate to live. I didn't eat much. Something happened in 2009 and all that reversed. Now, I think sometimes I eat a little too much.

    You mentioned a lot of rice. Have you tried making other dishes using rice? I know your diet is pretty bland, but that's because of your pancreas. I like how you sit with Barb at meals even though you do not eat, but have a drink available. Can your drink any kind of herbal teas? What do you drink?

    1. Kimberly, please excuse my delayed response...I do try to vary the rice a bit, but mainly with fruit. Vegetables are a bit much for me. Teas are good; tropical hibiscus and straight green tea are generally best.

      Thanks so much for being here!

  2. I love your perseverance in the face of your struggle. Honoring the act of being together for mealtime is a beautiful testimony to the strength of your marriage. Thank you for sharing Andrew!

    1. Mary, thank you so much for this...and please pardon my delay in replying.

  3. i like #2 ... finding new ways to be together. in sickness or in health, this ongoing choice can be a gamechanger.

    thanks, man.

    1. Thank YOU, Linda. Yes, taking the trouble to find new together times is really vital...for everyone.

      Thanks so much for being here, and please excuse my delay in responding, Haven't been doing well.

  4. I love how you always look for the positive in hard situations. It's got to be hard to watch someone else eat what you used to be able to enjoy. But you two make the best of it and try to be together as much as possible for a meal. May God bless and comfort and strengthen you both!

    1. Gayl, please excuse my delay in responding, and thank you so much for this affirmation. It can be hard to see someone enjoy what I once could eat...especially when pizza's involved...but togetherness is so much more important. So I don't notice the loss. As much.

  5. I actually think the orange juice and ketchup remind me of chinese restaurant pretty well. Sweet and sour chicken! :)
    Maybe no sour. Orange chicken?

    Lots of rice. Fits you well. You are white rice indeed. Ha! :)

    So glad you and Barb can have ice cream together.

    1. Orange chicken...if I had the energy I'd make a glaze, and if my system would tolerate it, add cashews. THAT would be a nice meal!

      Love back, from all of us.