The Fellowship of Food

Aragorn: Gentlemen, we do not stop ’til nightfall. Pippin: What about breakfast? Aragorn: You’ve already had it. Pippin: We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast? [Aragorn turns and walks off in disgust] Merry: I don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip. Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he? Merry: I wouldn’t count on it.

Tolkien’s hobbits knew a thing or two about food and drink. As he wrote about their journeys, he knew how food nourishes the body and the soul. How celebrations include a bountiful table. How ingrained its importance is in so many cultures.

As we look back over memorable moments with friends and family… holidays, vacations, milestones in life… the figurative breaking of bread and raising of a glass is most likely to have been a part of it. Whether around a campfire, at a ballpark, a kitchen table or the streets of the city, eating and the enjoyment of eating, whether trying new foods and tastes or setting a table for forty in our back garden, has been an integral part of our lives.

90110_2014-09-07_00.26.05_displayThe last few days, because of an antibiotic change, a result of the chemo or just part of this process, Rich’s stomach has not been stable and for the first time since his first chemo infusion when the meds weren’t administered in the correct order, he was unable to keep food down. Thankfully that resolved itself but there is still a lack of appetite. With taste buds affected by the bombardment of medications over the last few weeks, this is not a surprise. Rich makes the effort each meal to get the nourishment he needs but he eats without pleasure and does not look forward to it.

Our room has a dry erase board that the nurses use to mark changes each day. There is a spot for goals where during chemo they would list the beneficial poisons for that day. Once that was done, we utilized that space ourselves. Each day we would put a goal and hope by the end of the day that goal was reached. Some, like the hiccups, took a little longer. We started with Happy Birthday on day zero. One by one, each goal erased and another taking its place.

Grow Cells! Get Engrafted! Get Rid of Hiccups! Get a Good Night’s Sleep! Walk 20 Laps! Settle Your Stomach! And now…. Get an Appetite!

The doctor would always look to see what goal we had for the day and put stars or hearts next to them in approval or to show when the blood work confirmed a goal reached.

We look forward to getting today’s goal off the board and change it to Go Home!

Pippin: What’s that? Merry: This, my friend, is a pint. Pippin: It comes in pints? [In low voice] Pippin: I’m getting one.

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