This post is not about Mom's loss of appetite, but mine.
Actually Mom's been gaining weight. As much as she complains about the food at her assisted living residence, as much as she pokes her finger in her mouth and makes gagging noises when I ask her how dinner was, she seems to eat everything on her plate. Her aides tell me she's a good eater. She even ate all the lima beans in mushroom sauce with no complaint, two foods that she never cooked for her family! Go figure. All the meals that I've eaten with Mom at her new residence have been wonderful. Colorful, tasty, balanced, nicely presented, a real dining pleasure.
But my appetite has disappeared. I've had a whopper of a cold this past week, sleeping and coughing and sleeping. One day I ate just a half of a banana and a cup of yogurt. Another day a bowl of oatmeal. One day a half serving of potato gnocchi. Just a few sips of coffee - I don't even miss my coffee - I must be sick. I look down at a bowl of cream of wheat, and can't even imagine finishing it all, it's way too much food. (omg - I sound like my Mother!) There is leftover pizza in the fridge, it is not calling to me. (I must be sick.) The homemade chicken noodle soup I made last week, doesn't entice me either.
I finally realized how bad my appetite was, because today I'm vertical, finally doing something other than sleeping and coughing, and I'm hungry. Food finally has some appeal.
When my Father was dying, he gave up eating, he just stopped, he didn't want to eat anymore. He would push away the spoons and cups and shake his head. It was hard to believe that my Dad would not want to eat. But I had learned that that is one of the steps that some people take on their way to death. I was hard to get Mom to stop battling with Dad, "Open up, you have to eat this." He would swat her spoon away. "Come on you have to eat something, eat this." It was hard to make her understand that she couldn't feed Dad if he no longer wanted to eat, it was his decision.
Can you imagine not wanting to eat? Can you imagine that food no longer holds any appeal? No desire for sweet, salty, sour, succulent, smooth, spicy, savory, tart, tangy, creamy, chewy, crunchy, crispy, juicy, or zesty. No desire for barbecue ribs where the meat is so tender if falls off the bone? No desire for peppermint ice cream covered in hot fudge sauce? No desire for a red ripe tomato, fresh from the garden, still warm from the sun?
Yes, now I can imagine it, this past week I really didn't want to eat.
My darling husband would make me a bowl of oatmeal, when even toast seemed like too much to chew. But the oatmeal had no flavor.
Food - so much a part of living - so much a part of death.
I'm feeling better now. I'm hungry.