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Will you still need me, will you still feed me


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1 hour ago, Smokeydoke said:

What a depressing thread, what a way to start my Saturday morning. :(

 

I know, right?  When the thought of getting older and more decrepit is too depressing, I just think of friends like Matt dying from colon cancer and John in a bike crash before they even got a chance to whine about turning 40, and suddenly it's not so bad.  YMMV.  Cheers!

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1 hour ago, pastrygirl said:

 

I know, right?  When the thought of getting older and more decrepit is too depressing, I just think of friends like Matt dying from colon cancer and John in a bike crash before they even got a chance to whine about turning 40, and suddenly it's not so bad.  YMMV.  Cheers!

 Yes, you have to keep in mind the alternative to growing old.:)

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Due to my work I often discuss with people what is important to them, what they are trying to accomplish with any given treatment.  It varies from "I want to run marathon again" to "I want to drive again" to "I want to stop crying all the time".   I can totally relate to @Anna N post.  It is greatly important for me to be able to enjoy food.  To order what I want, to taste it, to chew it ;).   Cheers to all of us on this forum who like food and measure quality of life by it.  And no marathon for me.

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On 5/24/2018 at 6:19 AM, Anna N said:

Honestly, I know I did not manage to communicate my feelings about the situation very well. I was filled with a mixture of pity and outrage. Being so close to them in both age and condition it felt as if I was an unwilling voyeur in some sort of freak show.  I have arranged to be taken out back behind the barn and shot just before I reach their stage. 

I am living through this right now with my mother.  Humor helps (sometimes, she shares the laugh, sometimes I laugh later).  But like you, I have arrangements.  

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Reading about the requests for certain foods while in nursing homes brought back some funny memories. I never felt guilty-not one little bit -for what I did for my Gran.  This was my Dad's mother, born in 1898, who taught high school chemistry, physics and math, sharp as a tack right up until the end.  She taught me how to make fudge, how to bake bread/cakes/pies/cookies, how to make stock -  how to cook pretty much anything.  She was amazing, hilarious, brilliant.....and stubborn as a mule.  She went into the convalescence center when she was 93.  She had broken her hip, and trying to hobble around on a walker was getting dangerous.  

I used to work at that center, doing clinical work for music therapy, so I knew most of the staff.  I visited often, and she'd ask me to sneak in a bag of my chocolate chip cookies for her to nibble on. The food wasn't horrible there, but she wanted some homemade sweets. Right or wrong, I figured at that age- she can have whatever the hell she wants, and I'd bring her the cookies.  She was so cute about eating them. As we sat there, chatting, she'd pull the blankets up close to her chin, bite the cookie, smile, wink, and hide it under the blanket so no one else could see.  After she finished her "contraband". she would promptly brush her teeth.   When she died at age 96 1/2, she still had all her original teeth.  And, as heartbroken as I was- losing my best friend, confidant and mentor, I was comforted by the fact that I made her last few years on earth a little happier. 

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-Andrea

 

A 'balanced diet' means chocolate in BOTH hands. :biggrin:

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@ChocoMom

 

Great story and a nice homage to someone who was obviously worthy of it. I suspect  she was as buoyed up by the idea of being a rebel as she was by the taste of your cookies. As Dylan Thomas admonishes:

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

 

 May we all eat and drink contraband under the blankets to the very last.

 

 Thanks for sharing   

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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On 5/26/2018 at 12:52 PM, pastrygirl said:

 

I know, right?  When the thought of getting older and more decrepit is too depressing, I just think of friends like Matt dying from colon cancer and John in a bike crash before they even got a chance to whine about turning 40, and suddenly it's not so bad.  YMMV.  Cheers!

 

As @Anna N posted immediately after this one, it beats hell out of the alternative. I don't like getting old worth a damn. However, I like it a great deal better than not getting old.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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8 hours ago, ChocoMom said:

Reading about the requests for certain foods while in nursing homes brought back some funny memories. I never felt guilty-not one little bit -for what I did for my Gran.  This was my Dad's mother, born in 1898, who taught high school chemistry, physics and math, sharp as a tack right up until the end.  She taught me how to make fudge, how to bake bread/cakes/pies/cookies, how to make stock -  how to cook pretty much anything.  She was amazing, hilarious, brilliant.....and stubborn as a mule.  She went into the convalescence center when she was 93.  She had broken her hip, and trying to hobble around on a walker was getting dangerous.  

I used to work at that center, doing clinical work for music therapy, so I knew most of the staff.  I visited often, and she'd ask me to sneak in a bag of my chocolate chip cookies for her to nibble on. The food wasn't horrible there, but she wanted some homemade sweets. Right or wrong, I figured at that age- she can have whatever the hell she wants, and I'd bring her the cookies.  She was so cute about eating them. As we sat there, chatting, she'd pull the blankets up close to her chin, bite the cookie, smile, wink, and hide it under the blanket so no one else could see.  After she finished her "contraband". she would promptly brush her teeth.   When she died at age 96 1/2, she still had all her original teeth.  And, as heartbroken as I was- losing my best friend, confidant and mentor, I was comforted by the fact that I made her last few years on earth a little happier. 

 

Thank you all so much for sharing your stories - as  I read them I am finding myself mulling over some bittersweet memories as well. My mother was an outstanding cook - despite what as an adult I now understand to be our very limited means, every night we (Mom, Dad, and some combination of my 7 older siblings and I) would sit down together to an expertly prepared and well balanced meal - some kind of meat, usually a large roast of pork or beef with gravy; a starch; two vegetables; often a green salad; and a dessert, sometimes store-bought cookies but many times homemade. I may have taken it for granted when she prepared one of the very few meals I did not care for, but I recall finding most of what she made absolutely delicious. She took great pride in her cooking, though she did not particularly enjoy having to do it, and as she got older and frailer and less able or willing to cook for herself, she often bemoaned the lack of appropriate flavor development or seasoning in restaurant meals and even some of the dishes my sisters and I prepared for her in her later years.

 

She passed away 18 months ago at 85, and spent her final month between hospital and nursing home on a strict low sodium diet. She felt so lousy that she had little appetite, and though the food in the hospital was better prepared than the nursing home, it was all devoid of flavor and pleasure and it was nearly impossible to get her to eat very much, even with judicious use of the salt packets we hoarded and smuggled in for her - which only made her weaker and frailer. Further, specific dietary requests made at the nursing home (for example, please no meat of any kind on Friday, for religious reasons) were completely ignored and when alternate meals requested they either did not arrive or arrived stone cold. So much about it infuriated me - it was clear she did not have much longer, so why deny her decent food? Why be so careless about her nutrition when she so desperately needed calories? It all seemed so counterintuitive to caring for the whole person.

 

When I think back on that last awful month, there are three food-related things that stick out in my mind as... redeeming? Not sure of the right word, but moments of pleasure that she hadn't felt for a long time. First, since it was the holidays I made a massive basket of chocolate barks, clusters, and dipped pretzels for her to give out to the staff whom she particularly liked. She loved being in a position to share something handmade with people who showed her care and kindness, which seemed to give her a bit of joy she might not otherwise have experienced during her last Christmas and made her something of a temporary rockstar with the chocoholics on staff. Second, I made her some  specialchocolate bark with ingredients I knew she loved, in hopes it would entice her to snack and get some calories in her. It did the trick, at least temporarily - she truly enjoyed it and I was able to replenish her stash a few times before her appetite went downhill completely. Finally, on the last day in the nursing home before the final hospital stay - the last day she was reasonably coherent - I was visiting when her lunch was delivered and since she was nearly too weak to feed herself, I ended up feeding her the cream of mushroom soup on her tray. This must have been delivered to her by mistake, as miraculously it was both hot and tasty to her. She ate most of it - more than I had seen her eat in weeks - and it ended up being the last real meal she ate before she died a few days later. When I think about those final days I often think about how that simple bowl of soup might have been the last pleasure she enjoyed, and my being there to feed it to her might have helped her enjoy it without what, in her condition, would have been a profound exertion if she had had to feed it to herself.

 

Whoa. Sorry for the wall of text. Food is such powerful medicine, in all kinds of ways, isn't it?

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Patty

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I don't post much, but I frequent these forums on a daily basis.  I joined back in my mid 20's, and all the regular egulleteers are perpetually in their mid-20's in my head, even though I have aged and had to deal with similar issues with my grandparents, and now my parents generation. 

Edited by hongda
grammar (log)
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Thank you so much Anna N for bringing this thread back to life (pun intended); I had missed it when it was started. It is bittersweet to read all of your stories and you have prompted me to travel down my own food related memories based in the kitchens of my Omas and my mother. Thank goodness my parents are still with me but they are starting to have some health related close calls. Lots to think about and much to hope for as we all head towards our inevitable end of life. I read an excellent book that is somewhat relevant to this topic, "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End" by Atul Gawande.

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12 hours ago, Anna N said:

@ChocoMom

 

Great story and a nice homage to someone who was obviously worthy of it. I suspect  she was as buoyed up by the idea of being a rebel as she was by the taste of your cookies. As Dylan Thomas admonishes:

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

 

 May we all eat and drink contraband under the blankets to the very last.

 

 Thanks for sharing   

 

My all time favorite poem.  

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I literally cannot even begin to handle the negative thoughts on this thread. 

  My mom used to sing me this Beatles song which is the title of this thread when I was about 5 or 6 and she would let me put hair mousse on my face like a beard. 

  I’m now 38, my mom is 68. 

  

  I think it’s remarkable how well people are aging lately and consider it a blessing. I also agree with all of you that when it’s the end? Or close to? Give your loved ones exactly what they want. My father had a quadruple bypass at 54– it was some congenital issue (I should likely look into) and his diet was excellent. And still is— he’s allergic to all polultry and rarely eats red meat so he eats a lot of seafood. But when he wanted a scotch or a glass of wine once he was home? Damn right I gave it to him. And that was 16 years ago. 

 

  We are all aging. It’s not depressing to recognize it and talk about how each of us would like to eat. Or what we’d like to eat. I find it interesting. Getting older doesn’t mean a lack of a palate or lack of patience and eating shit food. 

 

(By negative thoughts I meant the ones that are not readily viewable). 

Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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6 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

I literally cannot even begin to handle the negative thoughts on this thread. 

  My mom used to sing me this Beatles song which is the title of this thread when I was about 5 or 6 and she would let me put hair mousse on my face like a beard. 

  I’m now 38, my mom is 68. 

  

Can't handle negative thoughts? Check back in when you're 64!

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On 5/28/2018 at 7:12 AM, ChocoMom said:

Reading about the requests for certain foods while in nursing homes brought back some funny memories. I never felt guilty-not one little bit -for what I did for my Gran.

Thank you for sharing that story.

 

My wonderful FIL is in a care facility nearing the end of his earthly journey due to that scourge cancer. He has had a full, rich life and, outside of short-term memory issues, is still mentally engaged in life. My DW and I decided early on when entering this phase of his life with him that he could have anything he wanted to eat, he just needed to eat. He gets 3 well-prepared meals a day where he is. But when we visit him we bring beer and snackage, mostly cookies and such. A few months ago when we arrived for a visit one of the care givers started fussing that we needed to not give him the cookies we had brought because he wouldn't eat his dinner. One of the owners was there and told the caregiver to leave us alone. She understands that an occasional meal of sweets is not going to change his outcome, and it gives him pleasure to have the treats.

Edited by Porthos (log)
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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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When my father's health was declining, near the end of his life, I would go up home every weekend. One weekend, he said, out of the blue, "I wish I had a good Reuben." I thought, "I can handle that." The next weekend, I stopped off by a Jewish deli in East Memphis, picked up corned beef, baby Swiss, a jar of sauerkraut, some rye and some Thousand Island, and we had Reubens that weekend, and I repeated it for several weekends, until he had his fill of Reubens.

 

It was a pleasure to find something he enjoyed.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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@Anna N  You are surely a treasure to those who know you. Your post was so much fun to read.  It got me to thinking about the few times I attended meetings for retired teacher union members and lunch was usually always served by school cafeteria staff or prepared in similar type kitchens.  After hearing various comments about the food being good at them,  I imagine most of those retirees, when they go to elder care places won't notice any differences in the food. They are apparently already used to it.   

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@Norm Matthews

Thanks.  So glad you enjoyed it.   I tried to make it lighthearted as well as everything else.  

 

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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@Anna N your story put me in mind of a fine dark comedy from the UK that I saw many years ago. It was called "No Surrender," and it's set on a New Year's Eve. The main character is the new manager of a nightclub, who in the course of the evening discovers that a) his new bosses are gangsters, b) his predecessor has booked all of the worst acts known to man for NYE, c) his predecessor is currently being beaten to death in the stock room by the gangsters, d) that part of his clientele for the night is a group of former IRA people and their families from a Catholic retirement home, e) another part of his clientele is a group of former Protestant terrorists from another retirement home, and f) the remainder are dementia patients from a third home.

 

It sounds grim, and it's certainly not a comedy of the knee-slapping variety, but it was done well and very funny.

 

Mortality has been much on my mind the last few days, as I've just lost an uncle to a massive stroke. He died without regaining consciousness, so hospital food wasn't an issue. It wasn't last year with my father, either, since he had esophageal cancer and had to be on a feeding tube. As a result, that last good memory for me wasn't food related. Instead, I brought in his clippers and shaving gear from home and gave him his last shave and haircut, two days before he succumbed. It had never occurred to me that the hospital wouldn't have the means to groom their longer-term patients!

 

It was an oddly intimate moment.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

DH is turning 50 today.  Not 64.  Anyway.  Few days ago I came home from a particularly long day at work.  There was a cocktail glass on the kitchen counter.  With some liquid in it.  What kind of drink did he make me?  How nice of him to help me relax after a long day ;). Sadly, that was his mouth guard soaking in my fine crystal.  We are officially old.   But happy.  Which is nice.

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