Archive | 11:26 pm

What a difference a trip to a grocery store (or three) makes!

1 May

As I slurped my oatmeal breakfast this morning, I struggled to think of anything to pack for lunch. I knew that I could fall back on the supply of Vega in my office if I needed to, but I wanted to celebrate my ability to open my mouth with something a little more conventional. Having run out of soy yogurt and frozen fruit, I didn’t think I could make a smoothie, so I settled for a can of soup, pureed in the blender.

I ended up leaving the office shortly after lunch and returning to my apartment before heading out to do some grocery shopping. On my first trip, I went to Berkeley Bowl and Whole Foods Market. I go to Whole Foods frequently, but trips to Berkeley Bowl are a rarity for me. I’d always found it to be expensive for some of my staples, things like non-dairy milks and tofu. This time around, I did find a few things on my list that were cheaper than at Whole Foods, such as silken tofu, but I doubt I’ll be returning regularly.

I returned home from my first shopping trip to eat my first dinner, which started out consisting of a package of ramen with half a block of silken tofu. For all of the jokes about students living off of ramen because it’s all they can afford, I actually really like the stuff. Somehow, though, this was the first time I’d had it since I started graduate school, and it may even have been the first time since I started college. Fortunately, I bought a few more packages, so I’ll have some to feed later in the week, too. The silken tofu was a nice addition, too. I had been somewhat concerned that it wasn’t going to be soft enough for me to eat without chewing, but it really was a perfect food for me, given all of my dietary restrictions. In a sheer display of lack of willpower, after finishing the ramen, I cut up the remainder of the block of tofu and slurped it up with a little bit of teriyaki sauce.

I then embarked on my second shopping trip, the destination of which was Trader Joe’s. ¬†There, I acquired some hummus and whole wheat tortillas, which became the basis for my second dinner. To make my second dinner, I started out by just cutting and tearing a tortilla into small pieces and then mixing those pieces with some hummus. Some of the pieces of tortilla were large enough to make it feel a little bit weird as it went down, and I realized as I finished that I could have used my blender to break up the tortilla. Of course, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow to try this, so I took out another tortilla, tore it into large pieces, and then shredded these pieces with the blender. After removing the shredded tortilla from the blender, I mixed it into several tablespoons of hummus. The second tortilla went down much more easily. In all, I probably used about half a pound of hummus tonight, so I’ll probably end up making my own hummus some time soon in order to keep the cost and the number of trips to Trader Joe’s under control.

My dessert today was the same as the last two nights: brownies and Purely Decadent soy ice cream. I actually finished the brownies today. A few people did take one at the office on Wednesday, so I didn’t eat the whole recipe myself, but I’m sure that I came pretty close.

I very much enjoyed my two dinners tonight. While they admittedly weren’t exactly what I would be eating if not for my accident, they compared favorably to the smoothie and soup diet that kept me going for three weeks. I’ll probably get tired of this diet soon enough, but for now, I like it.

Talking and teaching

1 May

Thursday is the day I stand up in front of undergraduates for four hours and talk about calculus, so it presented a big test for my newly mobile jaw. For the most part, things went reasonably well, but there were times when things had me worrying.

In my first section, I found that talking occasionally brought pain to the left side of my jaw. I didn’t think too much of it, but it was definitely a reminder that there’s still plenty that could go wrong with this injury, and a smooth recovery isn’t guaranteed. Toward the end of the section, two of the three rubber bands in my mouth snapped. Ideally, I would have replaced them right away, but I chose not to interrupt my teaching and waited until I had a break to replace them.

My break, unfortunately, was only ten minutes long, and replacing the rubber bands took close to half of this time. While it wasn’t particularly difficult, the new rubber bands kept breaking as I tried to put them in. My second section, fortunately, went relatively smoothly, and without any broken rubber bands.

The biggest scare of the day came in my third, and final section. I started off badly with this section, having discovered on my way to the classroom that I had lost my lesson plan. Fortunately, I had already been through it twice in the day, so this didn’t present too much of a problem, and I’m not sure if any students even noticed.¬† However, with about fifteen minutes left, I started to feel discomfort in the left side of my jaw near the site of the fracture. I noticed that the discomfort increased when I turned my head. This all seemed eerily similar to the way things felt in the three days between my accident and the surgery, and I wondered if my bone had broken again and shifted out of place again. A couple of minutes later, a rubber band snapped. I finished the lesson, trying to move my jaw a little bit less than before, and by the time I was done, the discomfort had subsided somewhat. I quickly tried to find a men’s room to replace the rubber band, but was unable to find one in the unfamiliar and infamously maze-like Dwinelle Hall. I ended up replacing it in the hallway using the back of my iPod as a mirror, my fingers still covered with chalk and visible to anybody who walked by.

As for the pain in my jaw, I managed to convince myself that I hadn’t broken my jaw again by tilting my head back, and observing that this didn’t cause the sharp pain that it gave me before the surgery. My guess is that there’s just a little bit of swelling resulting from the increased activity in the area, but I’ll probably call the oral surgeon tomorrow just to be safe.

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