Hunger

As I sit here eating breakfast, I have a new gratitude for food and my access to it.  Is it just my imagination, or do my eggs this morning have an exceptionally superior taste?

This new-found appreciation comes on the heels of a fast that lasted almost 48 hours.  It was not voluntary.

Those of you who have had a colonoscopy know the drill – the fast from solid food and purging of the bowels – however my fast was extended due to the recommendation of the specialist, the timing of my appointment, and an unanticipated delay at the clinic that result in being over 2 hours behind schedule.

Those 2 hours felt like a lifetime.

There were times during my fast when, in my hunger, I instinctively reached for food that I suddenly realized I couldn’t have.

There were painful moments when I felt I couldn’t possibly bear to carry on.  It was humbling.

I had to remind myself that I could easily survive for a long time on my layer of marshmallow.  I thought about the millions of people around the world who know TRUE hunger on a daily basis. Day in.  Day out.

My discomfort was temporary, while their hunger has no end in sight.

I felt shame.

And this morning as I eat my breakfast, I feel extreme gratitude.

94 comments

  1. This made me think about getting another colonoscopy. . . I’m overdue.
    Then, it humbled me. I think we all may need a fast to remember others who don’t choose this; but live it due to circumstances our of their control. Loved this, Joanne.

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  2. Having had this experience myself I too recall reaching for something that was not allowed. These reality checks are good for one I think. As long time volunteers at our Food Bank I am often asked why we chose that charity to work with. I say it keeps us grounded. Just when you think you have stress or issues in life you see people who can’t feed their family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely post, my friend (despite the colonoscopy). I think there’s a great deal of value in sitting back and recognizing our very fortunate access to food, shelter, and safety with gratefulness. ❤

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    • I hear you Diana. I think we say ‘thank you’ so very often in the normal course of our day, but its real deep down meaning of gratefulness is actually much rarer. It’s in those moments when we appreciate our blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Every time I’ve been too busy, am too hungry to sleep, and have to get up and get some food, I think about how many children go to bed like that every night and it kills me. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts & feelings about your experience, Joanne; it is certainly humbling to be reminded of how much we have to be grateful for.

    I am not one to advocate adversity just for a learning experience; I figure life will bring with it it’s own share of trials. With this in mind, however, I am constantly amazed by how much we do learn when things take a turn for The Worse, The Challenging & The Traumatic.

    I am glad that you were able to enjoy your eggs once again!

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  6. It is in those certain moments when we can find deep gratitude for the things we so often take for granted. I know we recently discussed the reading of The Glass Castle. Their lack of ability to eat when they were hungry was highly distressing to me. While I grew up without many things, access to food was never one of those things.
    Glad to read from the comments that it was just routine! I’ve been through it once and wish I didn’t ever have to do it again!!

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    • I agree, Amy. I also grew up without a lot, but we were always well-fed. My mother lived through some very dire years as a teenager in Nazi-occupied Holland during WW2 and having her children go hungry just wasn’t going to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m late to replying and you’ve got lots of comments. So, in an effort to ask something that I don’t think has been asked yet – How long before eggs and every other food stopped having that “exceptionally superior taste?”

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  8. There truly is nothing like a period of food deprivation to make us aware of our good fortune and privilege. When I was a high school student, I participated in a starvathon— a 48 hour fast from 4 pm Friday to 4 pm Sunday — as a fundraiser. We stayed at the school all weekend, even sleeping there, so we wouldn’t be tempted to cheat. I made it through the full 48 hours, and it was an eye-opener.

    Jude

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  9. Such small things and we take them for granted. That sense of gratitude is always with me when I see that we have enough water, so many do not and as you have said food and so many things. thank you for sharing.

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  10. I hate the two days of prep before a colonoscopy. I think it’s worse than the actual procedure. I’m also the only person that I know that puts on weight after the fast. I think my body hangs on to as much water as possible. Even my doctor was perplexed when I told him about my dilemma. I do agree that food tastes and looks so much better when you can eat again.

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    • The last one I had was 9 years ago and I don’t remember it kicking the stuffing out me like this one. I guess being 9 years older, the poor old body just isn’t as resilient 😏

      That is kind of peculiar about gaining weight from the fast. I would be seriously annoyed by that result!! Is it at least temporary?

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  11. Ugh! I couldn’t last 48 hours. I can’t do 6 hours. I get ill if I don’t have food every 4-6 hours. Headaches, nausea, dizzy, followed by HANGRY! I’ve done the 12-14 hour fast and barely made it. I was not well afterward. You’re pretty strong. I’m glad you made it though the ordeal. I hope you get a clear result! Those tests are not fun!

    I’m so disappointed that here in the 21st Century we don’t a wonderful wand/scanner like Dr. McCoy (Star Trek) had to wave over our body and diagnose our ailments or condition.
    I also am disappointed that I’m flying everywhere instead of driving!

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  12. Long-term hunger seems to have a deep psychological impact on people. Some tend to hoard food. My mother-in-law went through the Great Depression, and starved daily. She passed away over a year ago, and we’re still finding food she’s hoarded, and throwing it out (way past the expiration date). Glad you made it okay through the test, and that the fast only had to last a few days.

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    • Yes, I know what you mean about long term hunger. My mom was a teenager in Nazi-occuped Holland during the war. They were literally starving when Holland was liberated in 1945.
      Wasting food just wasn’t done in our family!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I understand why you feel both shame and gratitude, Joanne, although I think you don’t need to feel shame unless you’re actively depriving someone of food on purpose. To feel blessed encompasses that feeling that might seem like shame and then we can do whatever we can to help those who regularly feel hunger. If not, then shame is indeed appropriate.

    I also understand how good food feels in those/similar circumstances. I have a few more years until my next colonoscopy and I’m not looking forward to it. Being hungry isn’t an issue, but the amount of liquid I had to drink and the consistency of it made my life hell. The day before wasn’t too bad, but the morning of, when I was supposed to finish the drink, I couldn’t keep it all down and was afraid I wouldn’t have had enough, making me have to do it all again. Fortunately, all went well and all was well, but I keep praying there will be a better way by the time I’m due again!!

    janet

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    • I admit that the entire process is somewhat nasty and I’m already dreading the next time in 5 or so years.

      The shame really related to the fact that I occasionally felt like I couldn’t do it … and yet I’m lucky that the situation was temporary and not my life reality 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi, Joanne – I am glad to hear all is well. Challenges like that do make us think…and do remind us of all that we have!

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  15. Periodic fasting is supposed to be good for us, but involuntary fasting is hard. Food – even things you’ve never liked very much – looks so tempting and smells so good. I’m glad it’s now over for you and you can again enjoy eating… and being grateful that hunger is not your constant companion.

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  16. Sometimes we need to be humbled in order to appreciate. Fasting for a procedure is one of the least harmful ways of becoming grateful. Glad to know things are well.

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  17. Food always tastes good but it’s true we take it for granted. Takes something like this to appreciate food. Great that colonoscopy results gave the all clear 😀

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  18. I’m glad for the all clear. I never had it and the longest I fasted was 24 hours or so. I did it for years, on every full and no moon. I used to be so… in touch! :p But yes, great for perspective.

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    • It’s funny you mentioned that. I had a friend who had the practice of fasting one day a week – a little excessive for my thinking – but I seriously considered a one day fast as a regular practice. I like your idea of every full moon or no moon (I would pick only one – I like food too much 😉)
      Thanks for the idea. It would be an interesting project for a year … to get “in touch” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Dear Joanne,
    the best description of hunger you’ll find in Knut Hamsun’s novel “Hunger”. With the stream of consciousness technique, Hamsun’s describes the psychological effects of not eating.
    We hope you are well.
    Thanks for sharing, have a happy day
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hope you get good results from your procedure, Joanne. An excellent reminder to be grateful for what a good part of us in this part of the world take for granted – ready and abundant access to food.

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  21. It is humbling to realize that for some, fasting is a daily routine. I try hard not to waste food, and I too, realize how lucky I am to have access to food every day. Hope the colonoscopy went well.

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    • Thank you – I neglected to say that the colonoscopy was a routine procedure I have every several years because of a family history. It was all good.

      The reminder however was rather stark of how privileged we are to have the basics in life – like food.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I feel your pain Joanne 🙂 Last year I had to go for an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy. My only request to the doctor before they put me under anesthesia was to do the upper endoscopy first if they were using the same instrument for both, LOL. I hate waking up with a strange taste in my mouth ! Hope your test results come back good.

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    • yes, it was routine. Sorry, I really should have added that part … 20/20 hindsight.
      I think humbling experiences are good for us once in a while. As you say, it puts everything back in perspective. We have so much, and forget the privilege of it.

      Liked by 1 person

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