I'm dogsitting a chihuahua who had some teeth pulled right before he came over. Plum, that's the dog, has stayed over before but this visit he is noticeably less energetic, less adventuresome and downright crabby. It's always sad to see the little ones in pain...I'm not sure I am helping him feel any better - sometimes when your little and suffering, you just want your mom and Plum's (human) mom is out of town on a job this week.
All of this started me thinking about chicken soup, maternal comforts and the things that made me feel better when I was little and illin – and I was not exactly a robust, healthy child; I remember having been afflicted with everything as a child. On the upside, except for a small bout of cancer, I have been much in much better health as an adult.
Illness meant Campbell's soup. Most people have comforting memories of tomato soup on days home from school, I never cared for their tomato soup, for me it was with Bean with Bacon, combined with grilled cheese with real individually wrapped American cheese and ginger ale, the combination could revitalize my health. Plus with a canned food's hypertonicity, it probably even restore depleted electrolytes.
|Like this only less Croatian|
As an adult, when I was being treated for cancer, it was mostly about getting food down and keeping it in long enough to digest; food was fuel. Where a good meal is about slowing down and enjoying life, during my year of living cancerously, that was a joy taken away and food was begrudgingly about calories and surviving. Yet in the mix of rice, bananas and toast I do remember an exceptionally good peanut butter and jelly my mom made me and a pizza that a friend brought to me in the hospital that was both good and made everyone jealous as they ate their hospital food.
In an otherwise mostly healthy adulthood, about two years ago I got hit with the flu. When you never get the sick you forget how grinding awful being incapacitated it can be. A cold just slows you down, with the flu though, you want food to be liquid – because digesting solids is just too much – it also needs to be extra salty, brought to you with the instructions, “you need to eat”, and dirty plates removed. And if you live alone and your inclination is to perish rather than ask someone for a favor like walking the dogs or feeding you, the flu and hungry with the flu can make you feel about as isolated as you ever will.
Plum the dog is getting wet food this week, which he seems to enjoy more with each passing day. For my flu, the dogs had to use the backyard for 3 days, and I eventually managed to walk 250 feet to the Thai restaurant on the corner for tom yum, the container didn't need to be washed and since I regained my strength, I try to bring double strong chicken ginger soup to friends and neighbors when they are down – nobody should have to ask.