Food as I had always known it was now in the past.
February 6, 2018 12:09 PM   Subscribe

My last meal was either chicken and rice, piled with Mom’s brown gravy, or chicken stir-fry; I seem to remember the latter, but a blog post I wrote soon after says the former. What I know for sure: It was a Thursday, dinner involved rice, and the few bites I managed to force down were wrong. My mouth felt overly large, chunks of food bouncing every which way and not where or when I expected. My tongue seemed thick and wide. And at its sloping base, a feeling of tubal claustrophobia. I corralled the bites backward and downward, but when I tried to swallow, my throat retched forward. Not like vomiting, not an expulsion. A rejection.
Kayla Whaley talks about how she lost the ability to eat solid food as a result of Spinal Muscular Atrophy in her column for Catapult.
posted by MartinWisse (8 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I can't even imagine. Eating, despite being something I'm at war with myself over, is so fundamental to who I am that... oof.
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:37 PM on February 6, 2018

But over the course of twenty-four years of regular visits, no one ever thought to mention, to me or my parents, that swallowing could become an issue.

That's just terrible.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:03 PM on February 6, 2018

I know that modern medicine sports many miracles, but sometimes it seems really bad at the basics.
posted by batter_my_heart at 3:33 PM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Great piece, thanks for posting.
posted by mrmurbles at 9:13 PM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I never cease to be amazed at the number of ways the human body can fail to work as it needs to. Intelligent design, my ass.
posted by bryon at 10:30 PM on February 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Eating, despite being something I'm at war with myself over, is so fundamental to who I am that... oof.

Oh yes... a good friend of ours has peritoneal cancer, and her digestive system has basically shut down. So that's nil by mouth and being fed through a tube, which takes hours every day. She is coping with amazingly good grace.

And I am sure that I wouldn't be, were I in the same position, for just the reason that drewbage1847 mentioned.
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 3:55 AM on February 7, 2018

I feel like Not-Really-That-Modern-If-You-Consider-How-Long-We've-Had-"Modern"? medicine is much better at fixing the structurally 'hard'er stuff - skeletal, heart, maybe lens of the eye - but the mushier the body parts become, the harder it gets to fix. The whole digestive system is crazy complicated mushy insanity, muscles, nerves, neurotransmitters, bacteria, acid, etc. In Kayla's case you get to add in systemic neuromuscular problems, gah.

But back on 'modern' - for example, I consider that I've now had colonoscopies done on me for 20 years? and we're still doing that? because there is still really not anything better (you could argue the Pillcam you swallow is better because somebody isn't sticking things up your rear or the potentially huge cost of the team of people needed to do it and anaesethesia - but frankly I consider getting knocked out the reward for starving a body that can't afford to a bonus at the end of the purge).

Sure it seems like eating is no big deal to the average person, but for those of us where it is all jacked up, it is clearly huge.
posted by bitterkitten at 8:51 AM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Reminded me of Roger Ebert writing about not being able to eat anymore.
posted by Harald74 at 7:30 AM on February 9, 2018

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