Now there are some people who thrive on the discipline of diets and fasts. They truly function better when told what to do and when to do it and it’s funny. ….they actually see results and have something to feel proud about. Smug bastards. Then there are those of us---and I personally blame the Aussie convict gene—who are shocking scofflaws. I’m not proud of it but it’s a fact and I must learn to live with it and more importantly come clean. About ten minutes, for instance, after vowing to commence a healthful regime of avoiding all white and fried food for the next two weeks, I will be MOVED by some invisible spirit force with the strength of a thousand horses, to CHEAT and whip up an Elvis Presley special---a fried banana, peanut butter and bacon sandwich.
YES, I admit it. In the spirit of that good ol’ AA introduction, I would like to say here and now for the record, HI, MY NAME’S LYNDALL AND I’M A CHEATER. Which makes it all the more moronic that I thought I could handle five food-LESS days. But I am a silly old Pollyanna, hope springs eternal and if it wasn’t for the midnight meanderings I might just have swung it. My nocturnal wanderings are not sleepwalking exactly—but I do seem to behave like a zombie in a trance.
That is to say I wake up, at least two or three times every night, and immediately head straight to the kitchen, knowing that trying to get back to sleep without popping something in mouth will be useless endeavor. So I slide in to the kitchen and try to eat something simple and not calorie-laden. Rice cakes and peanut butter, a handful of almonds, an oatmeal cookie, a tangerine—or more often than not—dark chocolate in any form. If especially peckish (hungry where I come from) I will even go as far as Vegemite on toast. But the salty yeast extract that is our beloved Vegemite requires an extra large glass of milk and that will ensure having to get up and pee in about 30 minutes so I try to limit toast and vegemite to Friday or Saturday nights when I can sleep in.
So on night two after surgery, as I automatically stagger to kitchen like poor old Pavlovian dog, I find myself popping salty chocolate almonds (try them- Trader Joe’s—brilliant big chunks of sea salt on the choc almonds) before I even REMEMBER that I am meant to be cleansing my temple/body. I could spit them out and pretend I didn’t swallow two already but it’s a tough decision…and what a waste. So it’s decided then and there…this will be a semi-cleanse. Or half-assed –whatever you wish to call it. From then on ….. just a little benign nibbling at crackers and nuts…oh and the odd apple slice with big fingerfuls of peanut butter and apricot jam right from the jars.. plus plenty of that anti-oxidant packed dark chocolate….not so bad…and I shan’t bother to mention the midnight snacks—since I have decided they don’t count when your skin suddenly starts to ITCH AND BURN LIKE A CRAZY MOTHERFUCKER !!
Wondering if it’s some dangerous allergic reaction to the foul, poisonous Chinese tea crap that I‘ve been bravely continuing to imbibe, I consider putting in an emergency call to the man who runs the cleanse but cannot remember where I put his number and so I stumble round the apartment looking for Benadryl which I find about two hours later in the carefully labeled clear plastic box -MEDICINES ETC -under bathroom sink. Have no idea when I organized such a brilliant thing and in fact don’t remember it existed—so what exactly is the point of being organized when you can’t recall that you got organized in the first place??
But Benadryl doesn’t work and by about 6 am I am ripping off the stretchy bandages that my tits are wrapped in….as I peel it off great big patches of oozing sweaty, blistery skin peel off too, leaving gaping areas of red raw epidermis. Niiice. Time for some more Vicodin which despite my greedy snack addiction, I am always very moderate in taking….and because I am a drug lightweight, leave me completely stoned within about ten minutes. That in turn leads to some slightly impulsive emails to my good pal, ol’ doctor bob. I temporarily forget I am to suck up to almighty surgeon no matter WHAT, and I tell him I am in agony, ask for an apology for hurling me out of hospital the same day, and generally try to convey how traumatized and upset I am. This does not go down well.
Popular surgeons do not seem to appreciate constructive criticism. And he leaps into email action and is frightfully mean and bangs on about wanting to save me money cos Blue Cross consider major reconstructive surgery an outpatient procedure! And if he had kept me overnight at St John’s they might have objected and charged me a quick $20, 000. Oh really? Not what happened the last two times you operated on me….and how much more could St John’s charge ??
I just saw the bill ---$58,000 for the whole procedure with a mere $24,000 for the pharmacy bill. EXCUSE ME?? For what? Some Propofol?? That’s it. I paid for own Vicodin and antibiotics. How about the pharmacy try to act less like criminals and charge a smidge less and let me stay overnight! The whole thing is too infuriating for words. Thinking about health care could make one very ill. (Note to self—query the 24 grand fucking pharmacy bill!)
I make sure to have a friend meeting me there the next day when I go to see Dr Bob since I now sense some unfriendly vibes after committing medical treason and questioning my standard of care. Sure enough, a very chilly atmosphere. I don’t dare say a word about anything and try to be very polite. He coldly says I have had an allergic reaction to the adhesive bandage and after I am inspected and re-wrapped, he launches into a seemingly very rehearsed defense, once again, of his actions. I very simply point out that he told me I would be staying about ten minutes before the operation and he denies it. But why would I want to wake up in recovery and have no one there to take me home?? I swear on my children that he told me I would be staying and even let him off the hook by saying “Perhaps you were just very focused on the surgery and didn’t remember what you said…” In some sort of roundabout way I THINK he finally concedes that it’s conceivable – but NOT likely.
Anyway, I’m over it. I’m over it ALL. Sick to death of my health and talking about my health and the whole friggin box and dice, I drive on home and crawl back to bed for a few hours, utterly exhausted by the trip and ready to weep that, as some sort of punishment I suspect, he ordered me to stay on antibiotics for TWICE as long as originally planned. Within the hour trusty Rite Aid are on the blower telling me that my meds await me.
Day Four. I realize I ‘m weaker than I’ve been in over a year but by this point, everyone, quite rightly, is bored out of their minds by my endless surgeries. The fact that this is the worst I’ve felt throughout the whole ordeal, is unfortunately, not something one dares mention to anyone. Except one very, very old friend, a dude, who emails and asks how the surgery went. I email back a day or two later that I simply feel like crap and that this has been the worst recovery ever. To which he replies, as if I’m the whining nightmare patient from hell…”Be grateful you’re not six feet under!” Oh gee thanks.What a sweet, empathetic thing to say. I loathe 'friends'(who haven't actually visited one single time in 15 months!) like that.
And now it’s time to put on my happy face, my Uggs, a hat on the dry, frizzled up old white bleached hair and get me to school to pick up the gorgeous great big teen of a son who’s been staying with friends and seems to have grown a good inch in the last 5 days. I’m so happy to see him that I try to ignore several facts.
1It looks like he may be wearing the same t shirt I last saw him in..
2.I’ve already had emails from two teachers about missing homework..
3.Teeth look a lovely shade of yellow under the braces and it’s funny how I noticed his electric toothbrush still in his bathroom..
4.He left his novel at home and clearly is now even further behind with reading…
But instead of nagging, the mother who has been out of action for 5 days nobly takes him to his favorite Cactus Taqueria on Vine and get him 2 fish tacos and whatever else he adores…some odd milky drink and a huge bulging burrito that must be about 1000 calories. He wolfs it all down before we’re even home. Once in his bedroom, we finally get to hug, though he knows he can’t really give mum a big bear-hug. Just a very gentle one. I suggest oh so sweetly that he get down to homework soon since mum needs to drink a foul version of a protein drink on my cleanse and then go take a nap. He promises faithfully that he will. Everything is hunky dory. I vow not to fight with him all week.
I wake up over two hours later and he’s under the shower. He takes showers that last forever. What do teenage boys do under the shower for that long? Exactly !!Let’s not dwell on it. And there’s his huge whacking great school bag on his bed, yet to be unpacked. That means ZERO homework has been done during my two hour nap. He is SO not to be trusted!! I take the Playboys from their hiding place in his third drawer as punishment and chuck them. And the yelling begins.
But the bathroom door can be locked and he hides in there for hours with his computer and cell phone and knows I can do nought about it. (Not until late at night when I stealthily creep into his room and take his computer and hide it in my room. But the truth is he’s way sneakier and smarter and should seriously consider a career as a spy. He senses missing items and before I know what’s happening, has crept up behind me, stolen my cell phone and then refuses to give it back till I tell him where his computer is. You can perhaps sense what exceptional control and authority I have with my teenage son---but you try it. They’re relentless, stubborn and always up for a good battle –and these mad chases round the apartment are oft before we’ve left for school and I’ve made it to Starbucks.)
So, as the shower drones on, I drag a chair into the kitchen to search the top cupboard where I sometimes throw the American Spirits in disgust. Eureka !! I find them and light up a lovely stale fag and open the freezer for the vodka. Well it is meant to be the purest of alcohols so that fits right into my purifying cleanse. Then it’s half a xanax in a noble attempt to stay calm and not fight with the teen. And since I’m such a cautious soul, drinking on an empty stomach is unthinkable and thus it’s time for my version of cooking—opening a can of sardines and the making of some toast. And VOILA---the FEAST fast is over!