Friday, January 9, 2009

Dog in the Manger

I've been to the doctor today, for the first time since the follow-ups with my surgeon. Aside from the fact that it was really annoying to have to sit there and wait for an hour and a half for a 9:00 am appointment because their electronic records system was down and there were, like, 10 people ahead of me (at 9:00 am???), it was also annoying because he didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know. I'm not really over my surgery yet. Dammit.

It's not as if the external stuff hasn't mostly healed. Well, except for the ugly scars, which I'll probably have for the rest of my life. But the other stuff; the pain and stiffness, and that kind of thing, has definitely receded. It's not a problem. But eating? I have a such a long way to go with that. And for some reason, even though I quite liked the doctor, when he said the words "low residue diet" I felt like bitch-slapping the guy.

Of course, it's not his fault. And of course it isn't news that I still need to follow a low residue diet because every time I put a piece of fruit in my mouth I get violently ill, but it's driving me batty! What makes it worse is that just about every person on the planet seems to be on some kind of health kick now, and they seem to delight in misunderstanding that what's healthy for them is noxious for me.

Seriously. A low residue diet is a low fiber diet. I cannot have fiber, which means I cannot have fresh fruits or vegetables. I cannot have a lot of cooked vegetables either, like broccoli, or beans. The ones I can have must be peeled. I cannot have whole grains. I cannot have nuts, seeds, or berries. I know it sounds counterintuitive. In fact, it sounds utterly bizarre. My surgeon said it, and now, my new doctor has confirmed it. He said it's probably not forever, but it can take up to a year to adapt and I'm barely into the first stage. i.e., 9 months to go. And even after a year, I may always have some limitations about what I can handle.

However upsetting it is to not be able to have what I want to eat, it's far more upsetting to have people who don't understand lecture me on my "unhealthy" diet! I experienced this firsthand a couple of times over the holidays, and I also got the feeling of it from magazine and news articles recently as well. One size does NOT fit all.

My mother in law had beef and pork tenderloins and a huge selection of beautiful roasted vegetables for Christmas dinner. But she, in particular, seemed to have a hard time understanding that I could not eat the vegetables. At all. She asked me about them repeatedly. There were so many different kinds, and I wanted some, but she had roasted every single one in its skin, and there wasn't a single one that I could eat. She kept saying, "But they're so good for you." I had a piece of meat and a piece of bread on my plate. How embarrassing. Sigh.

Until I had to deal with these things, I had no idea what a pain it could be. Those yummy little sesame seeds on your bun? Nope. Can't have that. The raspberries in your yogurt? Out of the question. Toffee or peanut brittle? Forget it. Don't even think about that salad. The almonds in the biscotti? No way. Whole wheat bread? Absolutely not.

One of these days, someone is going to give me a health lecture at the wrong time, and I fear that they may regret it. I'm just sayin'.


Nanci said...

Ugh! I can't imagine how frustrating this all must be for you. It almost sounds like a totally non-fun version of the "new" diet they have in the movie Sleeper, where Woody Allen finds out coffee, chocolate, and cigarettes are the best things for health.

As for your MIL - it amazes me how people can ask someone something, offer them something, etc and be turned down a million times and still not get that "no" really, and always will, mean "no."

Do you still at least have the dishy drywall guy to take your mind off things?

Doubtful Muse said...

I know what you mean; it IS kind of like that, but I always thought coffee and chocolate were excellent things for your health any way.

I don't have the dishy drywall guy any more, but now I have painters, and better yet, a wall to put paint on! My bedroom is now pale celery green. Mike's been out of town, so he had no input whatsoever on the colour so if he doesn't like it, then ... oh well. ;-)

Gillian said...

I'm pretending it's like having bad allergies and getting my understanding that way. Except it isn't, it's worse. It's things you could eat before and will be able to eat some of again. It would drive me crazy too.

I'm glad to hear it's going to improve, but oh, I wish it would hurry.

Taminator said...

I know it must be miserable, Tamara, and feeling like you have to explain it to people must be doubly hard. You showed admirable restraint (again!) with the MIL. I'd have hit her. Seriously.

Hang in there. This too shall pass... (try not to think of any bathroom jokes just now).

Doubtful Muse said...

Thank you all. You would not believe how holier than thou people can be about some of this stuff. Like dessert. I can have plain ice cream (or cheese cake), but I can't have fresh fruit or anything with nuts or coconut or anything, for lack of a better description, lumpy. And someone is bound to get sniffy. "Oh I could never eat that." Or, "You eat just like my kids; they won't try anything." It makes me want to scream!

Gillian said...

One day you will turn round and ask the you-eat-like-my-kids person "I'm so sorry to hear your child was in hospital too. I hope they make a good recovery." You can then offer them dietary advice and give graphic descriptions of what happens when it goes wrong.

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

If I'd known all this when you came to visit, I'd have made two chocolate cakes!
It is strange how people don't listen if it's something they think they know better or don't want to hear.