I’m not sure if any of you have ever done a liquid diet before…I had done the dreaded “colonoscopy prep” five or so times in my life already and that was already brutal. Also, wanting sports drinks or soup after having a 24-hour stomach bug, different. Your body just needs the soothing that comes from those options. Today is day 12 of my liquid diet for surgery prep and, it’s…just…hard.
I want to tell you about my first real episode of being “hangry” (combo of hungry and angry). I thought I had experienced this before, but, yeah, not so much. It was Wednesday, and to just put it out there, Satan had to be out there to get me. I walk onto campus at East Stroudsburg and what’s there waiting for me? The Campus Radio Station selling baked goods. Literally calling out in the hallway…”2 for 1 sale!!” I, because I must be the moth drawn to the flame, walk out, survey the goods, hand them $2 and say, “Just keep it as a donation, I can’t eat any of this!” I walk away, pleased with myself.
I teach my class and I’m passing time in the department office until a meeting in an hour. I still hear those dang radio students chanting in the hallway. But, no, of course that can’t be enough…two wonderful students from the campus’ Active Minds chapter walk into the office with a BOX OF BAKED GOODS soliciting us to buy them. I. CANNOT. WITH. THIS. I calmly get up, make a cup of bouillon (YIPPPPPPEEEEEEEEE), uncork my protein drink, and leave the office early for the meeting.
Time to jet from campus to the personal trainer. And then my weekly grocery shopping trip. My roommate can’t join me because he’s at an event on campus, so my plan is to bee line it through ShopRite, get the things we need, and get out. Of course, now it’s close to 6 p.m. and I don’t have anything on me to eat. My stomach is eating itself and this is going to be the day when EVERYONE IS IN MY WAY.
I’m flying through the aisles, making my way downtown, walking fast, faces pass, and I’m homebound (WHOOPS…tangent there…damn Vanessa Carlton) when I see them, like a freakin’ beacon of hope. FUCKING FUDGE COVERED DEVIL DOGS. FUDGE COVERED. I grab them, rationalizing that they’re soft, and they’ll pass long before surgery. I mean, really, what’s the real difference between a Devil Dog and chocolate pudding, right? RIGHT.
So, I choose my cashier lane, sweet woman named Marge is my cashier, and there’s an elderly woman in a motorized wheelchair in front of me. The woman before her in line is chatting it up with Marge and I am starting to see red. Like, when the Bride sees the folks who tried to kill her in the Kill Bill movies (here’s a reference). I breathe, smile to myself, and think about how I really don’t want to go to jail BEFORE THIS DAMN SURGERY.
We’ve now started on the darling woman in front of me…and now her card won’t work. SWEET MOTHER PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE. Okay, we’ve paid, but now someone needs to help get her things into the front of the cart. And all the while, the Devil Dogs (wait…FUDGE COVERED DEVIL DOGS) are staring at me. Smiling. Like a finger calling me over. Like a cake in Alice in Wonderland with a big “EAT ME” tag on it. Okay, *whew* we’re now onto me. I try to hand Marge my ShopRite Shopper Plus card…but, no, Marge has to first put new paper in the coupon printer. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY AND GOOD I MIGHT LITERALLY INHALE THIS BOX OF DEVIL DOGS RIGHT NOW.
What do I do instead? I try to remember that contentment will not be found in the sweet joy of the Devil Dog (or 8 of them, which would be nothing in the 5 minutes it took me to drive back to my apartment and park). I calmly take them and an opened box of pasta, hand them to Marge, and say, “I don’t want these. Oh, and this box is open.” I bag up my purchases and leave. My hands might have been shaking, but I got out of there. Came home, had a protein shake, and tried to put the thought out of my mind.
Hanger didn’t win this time, but it could have. For me, sweet goodness would have been my immediate answer. If not the Devil Dogs in the store, a quick spin through the McDonald’s across the street for a pre-meal meal (and yes, I did intend to type that twice), or Dunkin’, or Arby’s or whatever.
If I’m going to be successful after this surgery, I need to recognize my triggers and re-learn new responses to them. I can’t allow myself to be that hungry again because even with a stomach the size of an egg, I can still squeeze in a couple of glazed from the Dunk. Instead, I’ll keep protein bars or drinks in my glove compartment. Always have water or something else with me. If all else fails, learn the healthier convenience food options that I can buy out–hard boiled eggs, yogurt, peanut butter.
I won this time, but my all-time record is probably Hanger: 627 – Gene: 1. Here’s to working to even the score!