One consequence of my ALS is that eating has become an adventure. Since I can most easily eat thick soups, purees and smoothies, I bought myself a mega-blender – a $500 Vitamix. This machine is soooooo cool. The blades spin so fast that it makes hot soup without a heating element – just friction. The machine extracts all the nutrition from whatever I put in the container. And it doesn’t require a lot of preparation or chopping – it takes whatever I feed it.
And it sounds like it’s about to go into orbit. Wow, so very cool.
Of course, I have always loved my toys. And I have always loved to cook (and eat), so this new toy promises to extend my ability to serve my friends and family luscious foods as well as taste them myself.
We eat many times every day, but it’s only recently that I have begun to think about how complex this simple everyday act really is. I have come to appreciate the subtle interaction between teeth, tongue, gums, and throat in the eating process. I have realized how much I took these complex interactions for granted, rarely paying attention to what was going on in my mouth. Now I am forced to pay careful attention to everything that goes into my mouth and to concentrate on the act of eating in ways I had never imagined. Learning to pay attention to all the details of these once simple acts is my new challenge – and there are so many distractions.
Sometimes that inattention would extend to what came out of my mouth as well as what was going in. I could be insensitive and dismissive with my words without even really meaning to convey that message. I could slip into vicious sarcasm and ridicule without even thinking. I could use words as weapons. In retrospect I have begun to realize how little nourishment these unintended words created, for me or for the recipient of my verbal gifts.
So this evil disease has given me yet another gift – the insight and awareness that the little things I docan make my life and my relationships positive or negative. I now understand that I have the power to choose to be positive, and I am resolved to use that power to live fully and with love every day — and to chew and swallow with attentiveness.