February 16th, 2014

Orexically Challenged

I finally feel like I've turned a corner with this bug. It took me too long to realize it was strep -- I didn't know I'd been exposed, since neither Skylar nor Kim had it -- and I have been paying the price in a major way. Disturbing as it may sound, I seem to have contracted it not only in my throat but also my esophagus, which meant that even swallowing a small amount of water was torture for much of the past nine days.

I've reached the point now where I can swallow some solid food without regretting it horribly afterwards, but have found, surprisingly, that I just don't have much appetite for it. I'm sure the days of fever had an effect and also the way strep affects one's taste buds, but it seems right now like something bigger is at work. Having to ask myself whether each and every swallow would be worth the pain has made me mindful about the consumption of food in a new way. I can risk a few thoughtless swallows today, but simply don't want to.

I wonder if there's a connection between this lack of appetite and something else I've noticed over the past few months, which is that my passions in general seem unusually muted. I've never been the most earthy person, for example, but find now that I get bored almost instantly when I start down certain trains of thought. And I just can't get excited about music very often, either, as I noted here in January. It's like all the dials that set my engagement with the world have been turned down low. Hell, I sometimes get the sense that I'm one of those guys in a commercial for ED, though I don't have any physiological problems of that nature.

The strange thing is that, as sick as I am, I'm starting to like this new me and am thinking of a plan to keep him around. I'm not going to get all Hippie and shit, but maybe there's virtue in scaling back one's appetites regardless of the circumstances. This malady, if you can call it that, doesn't seem to affect my will to write, which is what should ultimately matter most to me. Nor has it adversely impacted my teaching, though doing so while barely being able to move one's mouth certainly is a challenge. Perhaps I needed this disruption in my routine to figure out, better late than never, how to prioritize the way I've longed to for most of my life.