Tony had always been a “good eater” – with an astonishing appetite! Stories abounded and he had accumulated an amusing assortment of gimmicks to encourage him – for example, a sealed can of “Road Kill Spices”, several super-sized aprons, and a barber’s bib to catch any spills!
When he began to lose weight quickly, I became concerned. Our doctor recommended that we increase his caloric intake to nearly double, but the trick was “how to”…
It was seldom that any foods appealed to Tony, except when we went to a local restaurant where the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet offered a wide variety of choices. Tony liked to make his own selections, which were astonishing combinations. Red beets, pineapple, broccoli, strawberry jelly, devilled eggs, green melon and bubblegum ice cream were his favorite choices to collect on one plate, and all at once. It took me awhile to realize that Tony liked the bright and pretty colors, it mattered not what the foods were.
A visiting home care nurse suggested a visit from a registered dietician and I welcomed the idea, understanding that with no sense of smell anymore, it was hard for Tony to feel any anticipation for mealtime. Two weeks later I received a phone call to set up the first in-house appointment with the dietician. The woman’s voice was cheerful and perky, full of enthusiasm and eagerness.
On the appointment day, Tony wanted to cancel. He was reluctant to meet yet another well-intentioned professional; in truth, he wanted no further intervention. His usual reticence evaporated in a whoosh though when he laid eyes on the raven-haired beauty walking into the room with me. It made me smile when I noticed that he immediately sat taller and held his head higher.
An Emergency Room Physician told me once that older people lose their sense of being thirsty and can become dehydrated easily, so “pour the water to him!” It was important that he did not become dehydrated. I’d already begun monitoring his intake and outgo.
As always, I accompanied Tony to scheduled appointments with the doctor. One particular time, maintaining my composure was difficult. I was short on sleep and long on concerns.