I try to focus my still-feeling-the effects-of-anesthesia eyes and read through the sheaf of papers the doctor gave me. I remember he appeared in recovery like a shimmering blur to my foggy brain, giving me the pep talk before releasing me. “Blah- blah, blah-blah – polyps!” he said. “Yada-yada – hernia! Blah-blah – ulcer! Yada-yada – biopsy! Prescribing meds, read the instructions, and call my office for an appointment.”
Read the instruction. Okay, doing that. “Ew,” I say to my husband, dragging out the word. “Look at this. They gave me pictures of the inside of my stomach, and the inside of, uh, the places below my stomach.”
“You sound groggy still,” Jeff says. “Are you hungry?”
“A chocolate milkshake sounds good.”
“Okay, a milkshake for breakfast. Any surprises in your instruction packet?”
“Still reading,” I answer. “Funny, I thought I’d be starving after yesterday’s meager broth and clear liquids. And that nourishment got flushed out of my body by that horrid laxative gunk. Who invented these tests anyway? Scopes probing and “Boldly going places no man has gone before.”
No, I’m not a Trekkie. It just seems apropos since my doctor’s name is Khan.
I go back to reading the instructions about my newly discovered stomach ulcer: Avoid citrus juices and other acidic food, alcohol (no problem there), chocolate, mints, cigarettes and other tobacco (no problem there, either), caffeinated beverages (Oh, no! Do they make non-carbonated Diet Coke?), fatty, fried and spicy foods.
Let’s back this train up. Did that list include chocolate? Seriously? The shock of finding chocolate on the list chased away any vestiges of anesthesia. Maybe they accidentally put a comma after chocolate and it should be chocolate mints. Okay, no chocolate mints, I think I can handle that.
“It says here to avoid chocolate so forget that chocolate milkshake. Better make it vanilla.”
“Didn’t the doctor say you shouldn’t have dairy products? You are lactose intolerant. And what does chocolate have to do with an ulcer?”
“I know, right? Chocolate? Doesn’t make sense.”
Jeff pulls into line at a Jack-in-the-Box drive through. “What sounds good to you besides a chocolate milkshake?”
Everything sounds good, but the choices have chocolate or fatty, fried or spicy foods, or have chocolate or dairy. I said chocolate already, huh? I choose the pancake breakfast because it seems the least offensive to the list.
Maybe it’s the effects of the anesthesia, but I swear the word chocolate on that menu looked like it flashed neon bold letters. But that couldn’t be, could it?
Jeff drives while eating his breakfast burrito. I toy with my pancakes. In a fit of rebellion, I pop a sausage in my mouth and swallow before I can think about it being fatty fried. “Didn’t that nurse say I shouldn’t make any major decisions today? I’m sure she said that along with a whole list of other things.”
“Yes, she did,” Jeff replied. “It’s not like you’re facing any major decisions today, are you?”
“Sort of. You know, this thing of do I or do I not eat chocolate.”
Jeff laughs. “Do you mind if I stop by Walgreen’s and buy some AA batteries? It won’t take long.”
“Sure.” I lay my head back. Getting a few hours sleep isn’t kind to my grandma body. Is there a reason they do these tests at the crack of dawn? And who sleeps anyway while that laxative works its magic.
Once we park at Walgreens, I decide to go inside with Jeff. “Maybe you should stay in the van,” he says. “No, I’m fine,” I reply, positive there’s something I just have to have.
Tagging along after Jeff, I mumble, “Do they always have a display of some kind of chocolate in each aisle?”
He grins. “Having chocolate withdrawals already?”
Does he have to smirk?
“Maybe it’s not forever. If your ulcer heals, you’ll be fine,” he says, trying to look sympathetic.
“Well, I hope so. What will I do about the Chocolate Affaire in Glendale? No sense in going if I can’t have chocolate.”
“Honey, that’s six months from now.”
“Well, yeah, I know.” I sound whiny, but I don’t care. As we approach the check-out, I grab Jeff’s arm. “Look at all that chocolate and gum and stuff lined up by the cash register. They do that on purpose.”
Jeff stares at me. “Are you okay?” he whispers. “Grab a candy bar if it’s that important.”
I make it home without a candy bar. I can do this!
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