It is the middle of the night, or rather, very early in the morning, and I cannot sleep. Thoughts and flashbacks of my days in the hospital, as well as some physical discomfort, are keeping me awake now.
I find myself thinking about hunger. Because of a medical procedure, I was not allowed to eat while I was in the hospital. From Thursday to Monday I had nothing but water, clear apple juice, and the occasional sip of ginger ale. Finally on Sunday I had some veggie broth; it, too, was clear.
At the time, I was beset with so many other issues that I didn’t miss the food very much. But by Sunday, my growling belly finally got my attention. A nurse urged me to have someone make me a “real” vegetable broth, and bring it in to me on Monday.
The food hunger made me weak and tired, but there were other hungers which were much more noticeable to me at this time. The hunger for understanding, when diagnoses kept changing, and I was left not-knowing. The hunger for familiar smells, rather than the sickly, disinfectant hospital odor. The hunger for a window, so that I could see the sky, sun, trees (all I could see was a plastic curtain, ceiling, walls, floor). And mostly, the hunger for kind and warm human contact. Fortunately, I was blessed with attentive caregivers. The doctors were kind, and did their best to accommodate my choices, which sometimes ran contrary to theirs.
Upon leaving the hospital, I luxuriated in warm air, fragrant breezes, the colors from the low evening sun, the glow of trees that had flowered while I was sequestered. My husband served me a real meal, which was so intensely flavorful and full of texture that I could only nibble at it, savoring each bite. Friends are appearing, bringing food and love. Tears come to my eyes as I think of those who know how to appease hunger not only with food, but with their care, their warmth, and their willing listening. I am blessed by both blossoms and people. My hunger has been filled with good.