The My-Father’s-in-the-Hospital Diet

21 Mar

Yes, I am still in Weight Watchers. Yes, I am still writing down what I eat, weighing cranberry scone fragments, doing mental math on servings of salmon. I am still thinking about exercising and carrying my sneakers to work with me—just in case the urge strikes me to unstick my butt from the office chair and move.  So what happened?

Five weeks ago my dad went into the hospital for a little something that evolved into a bigger something, which became open heart surgery, intensive care, cardiac rehab, and now, at-home recuperation. All of a sudden, my typical boring life became out of the ordinary. Everything was thrown off balance, life as I knew it faded away, and I had a deep, intense, longing for chocolate. Add to this stew of stress the fact that I spent the whole time with my mom, my four siblings,  assorted sib-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and children, and it was quite the recipe for emo eating. In the great law of physics, where each action has an equal and opposite reaction, I found myself craving everything that the patient was forbidden to eat – which in this case was carbs, salt, sugar, and “bad” fat.

We were taking turns staying in a hotel in New York City to be near Dad. The hotel had a “continental breakfast,” that is a breakfast from the continent of Carboloadia. As starchy, white, and processed as it all was, it was, nevertheless “free” and “included” in the price of the room.  Although there were bananas, apples, and oranges, most of them found their way into my mom’s handbag and up to our hotel room.  And then, I didn’t want to eat them in case she was saving them for herself.  (She didn’t want to eat them because she was saving them for me.) There were the most Un-New-York bagels on the island of Manhattan.  There were hard-boiled eggs, brown tinted (possibly to match the décor of the hotel) swimming in a slow-cooker.  There was cold cereal in large bins, and foam plates for everything. More than once, I chased down my raisin bran with cold pancakes and breakfast syrup .  I drank Sanka.  Ah yes, it was all so continental.

The hospital cafeteria offered sensible lunch options and daily fresh baked cookies (I didn’t have them) as well as freshly baked rolls (I had them). We ate dinners out every night, always at 8:00 PM or later.  My sisters noted that “I was doing well.”  When you have three sisters, no food you eat goes unnoticed. One night I had an orgasmic taste of the best tiramisu I’ve ever had, which followed a meal of pignoli-encrusted Chilean sea bass over wilted spinach. On three nights, I drank wine.

Between my iPad, laptop, smart phone, and note pad, I had plenty of opportunities to track what I ate. And I did, after a fashion.   I will say that I did a ton of city walking, which felt great. I even had my  Weight Watcher’s pedometer, and I discovered that simply by keeping it in my handbag vs. on my waistband, it registered a lot of extra steps thanks to all that extra shaking (am I the only one who will even cheat the pedometer?)

There is nothing more important in this world than the health of your loved ones, and nothing more stressful than having that health endangered. But thankfully, Dad’s on the mend, and somehow, I managed to lose 1.4 pounds!  Glad to be back.


4 Responses to “The My-Father’s-in-the-Hospital Diet”

  1. Cathleen Barnhart March 22, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Glad to have you back, Ivy! I’ve missed your wonderful, funny voice.

  2. Gabi Coatsworth March 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    I can sympathise. I’m in London, hanging out with my mother after a heart attack/stroke (her, not me) and I’m much too close to Cadbury’s chocolate and Cheddar cheese (from the actual place – Cheddar). Had to take a one hour walk this morning to try and stop the rot, as it were. Lucky there are plenty of green spaces around.

    • schmeightschmatchers March 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      Wow – best wishes to your mom and to you too. The chocolate and cheese sound divine.

  3. energywriter March 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Glad you’re back and hooray for being disciplined. Great job.

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