11 August 2013

Jogging with Pheidippides

danleo's cat off Thomas Street.
Also, my insides.
Now, it hasn't just been the poor layout of my blog that has kept me from posting (though inappropriate kerning has on more than one occasion nearly brought me to fisticuffs). I have also been unwell.

Not hospital-unwell, but unwell enough to have folks in the office comment on just how unwell I look. Sadly, such comments often come on the days when I have been thinking, "you know what, today is the first day in weeks that I feel passably good. Maybe life isn't so bad after all?".

Without going in to gory details, let's just say that my digestive system has enacted a work-to-rule policy since December, refusing to use its own laptops, mobile phones, or carry out any overtime. As a result on many occasions the food that I have attempted to eat has instead quit the force and fled to Australia. As a result I now have a Hiatus Hernia, where my stomach has turned from an innie to an outie and moved in with my oesophagus, and the two get on about as well a Felix Unger and Oscar Madison but without the canned laughter track.

All of this was discovered after Unkie Dave took a scheduled trip to yet another hospital (the fourth one so far, I only need one more to unlock the "Invalid" badge on Foursquare) to have a camera rammed down his throat and into his stomach, while two nurses held him down on the table to stop all the convulsions because the damn sedative didn't work and he was awake for the whole thing (I find it better to think of this in the third person, as if it happened to someone else and not to me, in the vain hope that it will start to seem less traumatic over time).

(This is not the tube-down-the-throat trauma that I recounted on these pages recently, but an entirely different tube-down-the-throat trauma. What I like to think of as 'the Second Most Horrific Experience of My Life')

The hernia isn't bad enough (yet) for surgery, so the course of action is to try and make my stomach tidy up its act so it encroaches less on Mr Oesophagus' side of the apartment. Failure to do so will a) make Mr Oesophagus angry and b) annoy Mr Pancreas, for the walls between their two apartments are very, very thin (actually those nice surgeons in Hospital Number 3 knocked through the adjoining walls and sewed the two apartments together, attempting to mask their handy work with a Rita Hayworth poster that isn't fooling anyone), and if Mr Pancreas gets angry he's going to come over with a sledgehammer and make everyone's life a misery.

So I have now been placed on an even more restricted diet than I was on before. To the list of Forbidden Fruit that already contains alcohol, caffeine, coffee, fizzy drink and fatty foods, you can now add wheat, onions, garlic, mushrooms, avocados, asparagus, artichokes, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, peas, all pulses and beans, and ironically a surprising amount of fruit, including apples, apricots, blackberries, mangos, pears, watermelons, as well as yoghurt, milk, honey and anything with sorbitol or high fructose corn syrup. When you are already a vegetarian the list of acceptable foods left after this is very, very small.

Potatoes. That's basically it. Root vegetables, Rice Krispies, bananas, courgettes, tofu and potatoes. Dinner time has become like the worst ever 'Invention Round' on Master Chef, trying to come up with imaginative meals day after day with only the same five crappy ingredients each time.

Oh, and the nice Dietician I met says that stress may be a factor in all this unpleasantness, so maybe avoid stressful situations for a while.

Did I mention that currently my working situation is possibly the most stressful that I have ever experienced in my entire life? No? Are you sure? I'm pretty sure that's the type of thing I would have mentioned.

Kids, if you are ever thinking of setting up your own online Start-Up in the middle of the worst recession the country has ever known, take my advice. Use your Start-Up to invent a time machine, go back in time to before you had the idea to launch a Time Machine Start-Up and slap yourself, very, very strongly (I'm pretty sure this is Steorn's business plan).

Things are going swimmingly with my Start-Up, but to glide through the online waters with the tranquil grace of a Swan Zen Master, my feet are paddling below the water line with the fevered frenzy of a hummingbird on crack. There should be good news to report soon but the effort required to bring you that news might send me out jogging with Pheidippides.

(look it up kids, it's a classical reference)

So, I have basically experienced a near-complete Fun-andectomy, where all the guilty pleasures one normally enjoys have been surgically removed from my life. First-World-Problems, I know, but let's just say this has not had a positive effect on my general disposition and, truth be told, I wasn't the most light-hearted, positive and upbeat person in the world to begin with.

Every time that I sat down to write something recently, I ended up trapped in a structureless rant (yes, even more structureless than normal) against whatever hapless target ended up in my crosshairs. While exorcising that poison from my head made me feel momentarily less bad, it certainly wouldn't have been a good experience for anyone else to read it and, quite possibly, may have led to several prosecutions for defamation and/or grammatical errors.

Now that I have had some time to come to terms with my new gastronomic monasticism, I feel that I can return to the keyboard without offending the unfortunate reader who happens upon this blog. Or at least, I am less likely to offend them for the wrong reasons.

Seriously though, I'm really sick of potatoes.



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