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A culinary success

17 Apr

For dinner today, I had a smoothie which I might actually want to make again after I’m able to open my mouth again. Then it won’t be a meal, of course, but it was really quite good. I didn’t write down exact amounts of ingredients, but I’ll call it a Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Smoothie. I made it by blending a So Delicious Cinnamon Bun soy yogurt with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and maybe 1/3 cup of applesauce, a little bit of soymilk, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. After that was all blended, I added more soymilk until the volume was about three cups, and blended some more.

The smoothie felt as though it was just thin enough that it could pass through the straw, and the flavor was really very good. Something about the flavored soy yogurt made it particularly so.  The peanut butter has plenty of fat and protein, so it was nice and filling, too.

The wired diet, with Vega

17 Apr

It’s been a couple of days since my supply of Vega arrived, but it’s already changed my life for the better. I already mentioned that it allowed me to go a few hours without eating while I taught back-to-back sections yesterday. A Vega meal replaces at least a couple of smoothies, and it offers more nutritional balance. It’s also a major convenience in the mornings because it’s one meal for the day that I don’t need to prepare before leaving for the office. The taste isn’t great, but it’s at least tolerable. My container of soy protein powder has gone back into the cabinet, so I don’t feel like I’m living off of a monoculture anymore. When I was deciding whether to try this stuff, I had a little bit of trouble coming to terms with the price tag, but so far, it’s definitely worth it.

A curious reflex

17 Apr

A little bit earlier, I stumbled while walking up some stairs on one of the footpaths in my neighborhood. I was surprised to feel my mouth reflexively try to open. Of course, the wire kept my mouth from actually opening, but it was enough to make me shudder at what might have happened if I had actually fallen.

I do wonder what good this reflex does. From an evolutionary point of view, it’s hard for me to imagine how it might have come about.

Teaching through the wires

16 Apr

Today was a big day for me. For the first time since my accident, I taught my three sections. I knew that my speech wouldn’t be perfectly normal, and so it still might be hard for students to hear me if the room were full of chatty students. I also knew that it might be hard for students whose first language wasn’t English. To resolve these issues, I prepared detailed notes for the lesson and told the students that they could take them and leave if they wanted to. I expected that since most of my students were only taking the course to get into business or medical school, most of them would exercise this option. This would have the dual effect of giving the students another way of getting my lesson, and keeping the background noise in the classroom at a reasonable level. My expectation proved correct, as I had only six students among the three sections stay the whole time. Many of those who left didn’t even bother to take the notes.

I’m always a little tired after teaching three sections in one day, and today is no exception. Other than that, though, I feel great. ¬†Less than a week ago, I struggled to get even just a word or two out of my mouth, and I was starting to lose hope that I’d be able to teach today. To have been able to get up and teach for four hours under these circumstances is a huge psychological victory that low attendance isn’t going to take away from me.

In all fairness, I owe some credit for today’s success to Vega. I teach two consecutive sections with only 10 minutes in between, which means that I have to go about three hours without eating. On a liquid diet, that would ordinarily be very difficult for me, but after my Vega breakfast, it was not so bad.

One week check-in

15 Apr

Today marks one week since my mouth has been wired shut, and I commemorated the occasion by returning to the oral surgeon’s office for a check-in appointment. The oral surgeon looked in my mouth briefly and was impressed by how clean it was. He then started talking about eating. He told me that it was only two weeks before I could eat again, but added, “You are going to lose some weight.” He asked if I had been using anything like Ensure or Carnation Instant Breakfast. I told him that I hadn’t, although I didn’t tell him that I was vegan. I wasn’t particularly worried, because thanks to UPS online tracking, I knew that my supply of Vega had been delivered to my door while I was in the office.

I’ll be returning to the oral surgeon in two weeks to get the wires removed.

Muir Woods

12 Apr

Today, my brother and I went to see Muir Woods, but we encountered a couple of injury-related problems early on.

First, shortly after we left, I found that the flexible foam bandage on my elbow had come off. I don’t know if I’ve ever been satisfied with the way one of those bandages stuck. It seems like they always come off. Fortunately, we passed a pharmacy shortly after passing through San Rafael, and so I was able to purchase a box of better bandages.

When we got to Muir Woods, I was hungry enough that I wanted some of the smoothie I had made before leaving. Unfortunately, I discovered that I had left it at home. Luckily, the concession tent at the edge of the parking lot sold little boxes of chocolate (and only chocolate) soy milk. The price, naturally, was excessive, but it held me off until we got home, if only barely.

A drug-free me

11 Apr

Yesterday, I struggled mightily to stay awake in my classes. At first I thought this was just because I stayed up late Thursday night, but then I began to wonder if Vicodin, which I had been taking twice daily, might have been playing some role. When I was in the office, I thought that the only side effect on the label was dizziness, but it occurred to me that it might actually have been drowsiness, and I had misremembered or misread.

When I got home, I checked the label of my container of Vicodin, and sure enough, it warned that the drug may cause drowsiness. I wasn’t experiencing much pain, so I decided I’d try to stop taking it.

I haven’t taken Vicodin since yesterday morning, and so far everything is going well. I don’t feel tired, but that may well be because I slept better last night. The most noticeable difference when I woke up this morning, though, was that I was able to talk reasonably well. My speech is still far from normal, I think that most people would find me comprehensible. I do struggle with certain sounds. For example, I can’t pronounce the “th” sound, so I have to use the “d” sound as young children sometimes do.

For the first time, I feel genuinely hopeful that I’ll be able to teach my classes next week.

In all fairness, I don’t know if my ability to talk has anything to do with my newly drug-free status. It may well be that it’s just a consequence of my mouth being a little bit less swollen. However, I do think it’s very much plausible that a narcotic like Vicodin would make it harder to exercise the relatively precise control required to speak clearly.

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