It’s Difficult Being a Food Writer When You Can’t Eat

I had back surgery last week to address a herniated disk in my low back. The procedure I had is called a microdiscectomy, and as these things are defined, it is “minimally invasive.” This is the second time I’ve had the surgery, and as was the case the first time, the crippling pain I had shooting down my left leg and into my foot was almost entirely resolved by the time I woke up from the general anesthesia. 

Unlike the last time, however, I have not recovered to the point I could get back to my normal activities. The problem has not been the pain that caused me to need surgery in the first place. It’s been an inability to eat more than a bite or two of anything solid. 

I’ve been hungry, or at least aware that I was having acute hunger pains. I’ve been able to swallow, at least physically. But despite trying everything I could, I was not able to make myself eat. My sense of taste has been affected; everything has had a sort of acrid flavor. At one point I became dehydrated and ended up in the ER getting fluids intravenously. I lost between 8 and 10 pounds in nine days. 

I’ve had more blood drawn in the past two weeks than the previous five years, I think, and while I’m happy to report that the folks who staff the ER at Touro are professional and compassionate, I do not wish to see them any more. (It’s not you, Touro ER; it’s me.) The only thing I’ve been able to reliably consume lately have been Ensure “shakes.” These are not as bad as you might expect, provided they are very cold and your alternative is starvation. 

I won’t go into detail as to what my otolaryngologist thinks is going on, but it appears to be a combination of relatively common issues. More important, it appears to be treatable. I’m not exactly back to normal as I write this, but today I have been able to eat a bowl of noodle soup, which was pretty sweet compared to the artificially chocolate-flavored invalid juice that has heretofore been my exclusive diet. I have also summoned the energy to at least explain and apologize for the lack of updates to Haute Plates recently.

And I am sorry, both for not writing and because I am going to miss out on being a judge at Hogs for the Cause this weekend. Hogs has become one of my favorite events of the year. It raises money for a fantastic cause, and it’s a great time. There will be 95 teams presenting food, a lot of music, adult beverages available for purchase and, to cap things off, it appears the weather will be beautiful. It is going to be very difficult to attend and not taste the food or indulge in the adult beverages, but I haven’t missed one yet, and did I mention it’s for a fantastic cause?  



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