Medical procedure helps to put things into better perspective

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and it’s true. I miss solid food.

Oh, I have food in my house and all the necessary equipment (teeth, etc.) for consumption of same. It’s just that I can’t, temporarily. As I write this, my intake is restricted to clear liquids.

Why? Well, because I am going to have a medical procedure known as … oh, let’s just say I will be knocked out and a gastroenterologist will be using a long, flexible scope to peer at what we might call The Dark Side of the Moon.

And because of that, I can’t eat solid food. I am limited to drinking things you can see through, and if I want to eat something, too bad. Unless it’s Jell-O. I can have Jell-O, as long as it’s not red or purple.

So I am pretty much down to Sprite, Gatorade, tea, apple juice, white (but not red or purple) grape juice, chicken bouillon and … what’s that other clear stuff you drink? No, not vodka. The one that doesn’t make you crash your car. Oh, yeah: Water.

Mind you, this is only part of the prep. Later I get to take an industrial-strength laxative (think Liquid Plumber, only lemon-lime flavored) in order to clean me out so Dr. Spelunker has a clear field in which to work.

Which brings this to mind: Next time you are in a mood to complain about your job, consider the gastroenterologist who spends his day peering into a never-ending parade of hineys. I don’t think I want to know what sort of demons force a person to even consider this line of work.

Now, being on the liquid diet isn’t as bad as you might think. You don’t have to be hungry, for example. You can keep yourself full with liquids. And while you have the urge to gnaw something — a chicken leg comes to mind — it passes, as most urges eventually do. And besides, it’s only for a day.

But it does bring a few things into sharp relief, however. The amount of solid food in your kitchen, for example. My goodness, there’s a lot of chewable stuff in mine. I know because it has been calling to me all day, and the voices are getting louder. Particularly the ones from all those Oreos in the package in the pantry. And from certain leftovers (see above re: chicken leg) in my refrigerator.

It also brings into relief the number of images of food we are presented with every day. Between commercials on television (which I’ve had to stop watching), recipes in my email inbox and photos of meals posted on Facebook, I’ve been bombarded all day with likenesses of things I can’t have until sometime tomorrow, after the procedure. No wonder we have a weight problem in this country. Food is in front of us, one way or another, all the time.

And then I am reminded that there are people in this world, in this country, who don’t have anything to eat, who would relish the cup of bouillon I choke down resentfully, and I feel ashamed.

So here I am, hiding in my office (one room where I do not allow food), passing the time until this inconvenience passes. I’ll eat tomorrow. The chicken legs will be waiting.