It’s 5 days now of being on a liquid diet, and as a true Melburnian I love my food – we are blessed in this city to have lots of great fresh food markets readily accessible and I am/was a frequent visitor to Queen victoria markets on my trusty Amsterdam bike with big baskets to carry all my lovely yummy loot home. All Australians should count themselves very lucky in teh food situation – I was in Norway a few years back and was quite surprised at the lack of variety and lack of fresh food available, many countries work this way and it’s simply a pipe dream to think of going to the supermarket and picking up whatever you like. I’ve had a few friends from Europe come over and just be astonished by the range of fruit and vegetables and particularly now we have a stronger influence and availability of asian vegetables.
If you’re a bit of a foodie too you can probably understand my disappointment and yes I’ll admit fear regarding how long my current menu will last. It can’t be that bad you say, and surely you can’t be that hungry? True on both questions but flavour and taste are something in your brain not your gut, and thankfully my brain seems to be doing just fine (insert random joke regarding my normal state of mind here…).
My menu consists of the following – at about 8am breakfast arrives, it consists of a cup of hot water with the option of a tea bag or sachet of instant coffee, an orange juice and cup of milk. After experiencing what coughing is like with stitches right up your belly I avoid the milk as diary makes you form mucous and often cough – I’m not sure why they give this to people it doesn’t make sense to me. The orange juice is really acidic and very very sweet and when you have nothing in your gut except panadol, tramadol or oxycontin it burns and causes heartburn so i generally avoid that to. Leaving me with the option of tea or coffee which I alternate each day, just to spice things up a bit.
We then move onto lunch which is a small bowl of “vitamised soup” no idea what the heck that means but it’s usually just strained tomato soup, or one day I had a really nice sort of leek and chicken thing or thats what it tastes like – it was sort of whitish in colour. there are other options on the tray – a low fat, gluten free custard which tastes hideous and again sooo much sugar, jelly and a juice of some variety – not fresh people it’s one of those in a round plastic container jobbies that really suxs to open and you generally spill it all over yourself in the process.
And guess what…. dinner is exactly the same as lunch.
after 5 days of this…. it’s getting a little tiring.
So I did what a large proportion of us do when we have a medical question and asked Dr Google. It’s amazing how many people ask Google health questions and in fact that data has proven useful for a range of government health initiatives – Google can predict flu and other disease outbreaks faster than the government (US) and has now partnered with them to provide these search results in clusters to help reduce spread of disease – thats a pretty cool use of technology in my books.
However the fact that any old schmuck – me included, can post up content onto the interweb means you can thousands of results and it’s hard to know who to trust.
Take me for example I wanted to search for Diet after bowel resection, over 10,000 results and mainly from the states and mainly people leaving their stories. Now I’m a big fan of the social media revolution and the interactivity of todays websites – enabling people to have a voice and share their opinions and stories is great.
It’s not a new thing though talk back radio has been around for years, and I must say that some of the comments on teh health blogs remind me of those rather set in their ways older talk back radio callers who harp on about a specific subject.
But was it useful? no, not really. it was all so contradictory – eat vegetables dont’ eat vegetables, stay away from orange juice, I am never allowed to eat cheese again( my heart did a little skip reading this one, I am a MAJOR cheese fan and life will be a little less rosy if I’m not allowed to indulge in a Delice de Bourgogne or Yarra Valley Persian Fetta… oh yummmmm… sorry as i wipe the dribble from my laptop.
So I asked my surgeon – oh dont’ worry you’ll be able to eat anything.
awesome news, but when? how long will I be on the liquid diet, what do I start eating after that? whats the best type of food to help my body heal? how can I actively take part in my recovery by choosing the right food to nourish and support my bowel healing? Will eating laxative inducing foods like prune juice be a good thing or a bad thing?
I think sometimes people think patients are stupid, and often we dont’ do much to alleviate this myth – there is an aura around surgeons that they know best, that they are gods and that anything they say must be gospel. But I think us patients are smarter than that and I think we need to start asking for more, why isn’t there a dietician here to help me, why isnt’ there a pack for me to read – preferably online through my personal tv screen monitor thing in my room, to learn about different foods and their affect on my bowel be.
Provide me with the information to empower me to make decisions and manage my recovery.