I received a call from Dr. Foie Gras’s office last week scheduling an appointment for June 15. I’m imagining my repeat blood work last Monday revealed ongoing liver-enzyme elevations, and that Dr. Blood initiated the referral, but someone forgot to inform me. I’ve surprisingly taken it all in stride. Anxious Annie is nowhere to be found. What’s up with that?
Here’s what’s up: I’ve lived with a wonky liver for many years now, so I can tell when my liver ain’t happy. I get tired, and I am pretty wiped of late, but it’s manageable. More importantly, I lose my appetite. I know we’ve discussed this before but it bears repeating here. I cannot fathom putting any food into my mouth. J. begs me to eat, but my meals become uncharacteristically microscopic. A piece of toast here, a bowl of broth there. You’ve had a fever or a stomach bug at some point. This is no different.
My loss of appetite was at its worst soon after my leukemia diagnosis, and especially following my discharge from the ICU. For a good two months plus, I could not fathom food. No wonder I lost 30 lbs.
I also know from experience what it’s like when my appetite returns, as I’m sure you do too. I find I don’t want to eat a large pizza with fries on the side right away; I want bland food to start. Plain rice, toast with jam, maybe apple juice or the odd scrambled egg. Anything else is unfathomable.
When I stop eating, J.’s intake drops too. During my prolonged hospitalization, friends generously plied J. with food. One friend dropped off an abundant supply of her mother-in-law’s delectable homemade samosas. There were so many that J. had barely made a dent in them by the time I was discharged. As J. was desperately trying to find things I might eat–I had graduated to potato perogies by this point–she ran some options by me, each of which I nixed. Then, as a lark, she mentioned the samosas. I paused rather than immediately saying “Are you crazy?”, as she expected. Despite my limited diet, a samosa sounded oddly appealing. Samosas are just perogies in evening wear, aren’t they? Normally something fried and spicy if delicious would be out of the question but, to J,’s surprise, I gave one a try.
I have never tasted such a good samosa in my life. I recall eating many of these delicious bundles over the following weeks as my appetite slowly returned. I was starkly underweight back then, and J. was thrilled I was eating something, anything. Word got back to our friend’s mother-in-law, who has donated additional samosas to my health cause ever since. In fact, we just picked up another generous bagful a few days ago.
It must be an omen that this latest samosa stash has arrived while my liver is acting up. This fortuitous timing sparked an idea: I’ll eat one prior to my next blood work and see if the results improve. Even better, I’ll snarf one down right before my appointment with Dr. Foie Gras, for good luck. Forget Jewish penicillin, I’m going for Indian this time. Desperate times call for delicious measures.