- I was dropped when I was a baby.
- At the age of two, I rolled out of a speeding vehicle on to the freeway.
- When I was three, I pulled a cord hanging off the kitchen counter and had a 5lb old school electric can opener drop on top of my head.
- I got lost in the snow for ten hours while skiing and contemplated eating my own flesh when I was thirteen.
- A week before starting college, I was a victim of a hit-and-run on the freeway and nearly died.
Yes, I’ve always been very accident-prone.
So last month, when my mother heard that I had fallen off my bike and landed on the pavement face-first she was not at all surprised.
But it wasn't the pain from my shattered jaw bone that made me cry. It was the nightmare moment when the doctor (little Japanese Doogie Howser, MD) informed me that I needed to have my teeth wired shut and will be deprived of all solid foods and liquor for a whole three weeks.
"You might as well kill me now with your lazer pointer, Dr." I thought to myself as I felt my first tear run down my cheek.
This is the Liquids Meal that they gave me for the first two weeks:Clockwise from left: Finely blended rice porridge (plain), gaggingly sweet coffee with milk, from-concentrate apple juice, and a Tetra Pak baby formula. I never figured out which was meant to be the main course. This for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
When part of the wires were removed my third week, I was allowed an upgrade to the Pureed Meal. I quickly realized that my doctor was being sarcastic when he called it an “upgrade”.
Clockwise from left: Plain rice porridge, yam goop, boiled fish goop, mango goop in a deceiving veggie patterned bowl (pictured right), spinach goop, plain miso soup.
Now I know what it feels like to be a baby.
MMmmmmmmmmm!!! Yummmy! [Airplane noises]
Not only did these “meals” look menacing, they were served without any indication of the ingredients to make the dining experience all the more dreadful. Needless to say, this was a form of torture as repugnant as waterboarding and I cannot describe just how frightened I was bringing the first spoonful of a mysterious goop to my mouth.
As my communication was impaired, the nurse handed me a convenient pain intensity scale to indicate the level of pain I was experiencing.
I will be using this scale here to convey to you how offensive these pureed concoctions were to my taste buds. So here goes:
Wild guess: Boiled chives with white miso.
Wild guess: Some kind of white fish stewed in cream. No salt.
Wild guess: Tofu...with some sort of daikon radish-cream-dashi sauce.
Wild guess: Boiled cabbage with A1 sauce.
Wild guess: Reaaaaally watery mashed potatoes. it was no vichyssoise, trust me.
Wild guess...well, no, I knew exactly what this was: Tamagoyaki (Japanese dashi-based omelette).
Wild guess: This took me a while...but I'm 99% sure this was spaghetti and meatballs. WITH the spaghetti. This went from Level 1 pain to Level 6 pain once I realized what it was.
Those three weeks felt like an eternity...
...but I made it through, dreaming of the day I get to bite into this oh so gorgeous Homo Sausage that I found at the hospital concession stand.
It's good to be home.
*A native Californian, June currently resides in Tokyo where she is lounging on her couch watching ridiculous Japanese TV shows as she recovers from her tragic bike accident. In case you were wondering, this is what it means to have your jaw wired shut.