The eating when you’re sick thing

I generally have no problem eating. My problem is stopping eating. But when I am sick, or depressed, that all goes out the window, and I don’t eat. At all. The BH knows this, and has therefore been a royal pain my ass about eating this week. “What did you eat today” is invariably the first thing he asks me when he gets home from work. Apparently water and herbal tea doesn’t count. He also seems to think that a half a cup of rice with soy sauce, or an orange, or a bowl of plain yogurt don’t count either. So bossy. But I know I am getting better, because last night I ate two whole scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa, and a handful of Dove milk chocolate squares that the BH brought home for me. Today, I had an egg salad sandwich. I might, just might, have a pear for dinner.

What is it about being sick that so changes our appetite, our taste? You’d think that the immune protections would cause us to crave hot peppers, and citrus, and cinnamon, all the antioxidant foods. Instead, if I want anything at all, it’s french toast, or Charleston Chews. Carby, sugary, nutritionally empty foods. The thought of broccoli, or a steak, my usual comforts, turns my stomach.

I know it’s important to eat when you’re sick to give your body the fuel it needs to combat the illness, but one thing I hadn’t thought about was lithium toxicity. My shrink called me yesterday to tell me that I was approaching a therapeutic level on my lithium dosage. When I picked up the phone to croak hello, she started asking me about the flu, making sure I was hydrated etc. After I’d assured her that my cup of water with swirly straw was my constant companion, she started quizzing me about my eating, and told me I needed to make sure I was taking in at least 1000 calories a day to cushion my lithium intake— hot chicken broth and miso soup, my other two mainstays, were not enough. I’d never thought of that– I was just concentrating on drinking enough.

I wonder if I can get the thai place to deliver an extra spicy, vegetarian, country style pad thai? And some Charleston Chews.

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20 thoughts on “The eating when you’re sick thing

  1. thordora

    mmmm charleston chews…. I loves them.

    I never have the problem with no eating. Like many bipolars, I have the whole binge eating issue….I have to be either really really ill or really really suicidal to not eat.

    Get some toast into you maybe?

    Reply
  2. Cricket

    I never don’t want to eat and envy people who lose weight while sick.

    Never thought of lithium toxicity as an issue, but it makes sense. You teach me more about lithium than any other source. If my lithium overdose symptoms came about – mostly extreme hand shaking and weakness – I would assume it was a thyroid med thing, which also causes shaking. So much to juggle and tease apart.

    Hope your jitterbugging tomorrow.

    Reply
  3. mike golch

    when I’m sick I don’t feel like eating much,I’d just rather sleep,fortunenetly for me the Better half makes me eat some soup at the verry least.
    Now when I get depressed,well I don’t care how much I eat.
    I truely hope that you are feeling better soon.”hugs”your way.Mike

    Reply
  4. Mariposa

    First of all, I hope you get BETTER, like 100% !

    And omg, I did not know about lithium toxicity, and I googling about it now like mad.

    When I’m sick I don’t eat well too…though in a normal setting I really have issues with eating. The only nice thing is, when I am sick, I eat nothing but Congee so that is carbo right? 😉

    Reply
  5. Emily

    Mostly when you’re sick your sense of smell goes out the window because your nose is all clogged with mucous. So even if you’re not nauseous from a stomach bug, if you’re stuffy and you can’t smell your food , you won’t taste it properly and you aren’t interested in it. A lot of hunger and taste are wrapped up with the sense of smell, so your desire for food can be changed a lot by being congested.

    I hope you feel better soon!

    Reply
  6. Jen M

    I hope you are feeling better and soon. Pad Thai can easily have almost 1000 calories in it – so indulge!! I hope they deliver.

    And the egss/cheese/salsa with Dove chaser? You are so my kind of comfort food eater.

    As I type this I am munching on parmesan crackers spread with chevre and a leaf of fresh basil. I would run some over to you if you were my neighbor.

    Reply
  7. Camellia

    Chicken noodle soup in the early stages. Coke (coca-cola) and saltines. At some point, grilled cheese sandwiches, but I’m from the South. We want you better.

    Reply
  8. LawyerChick

    Congee rocks. If it’s thicker rather than soupy, there’s some decent carbs and calories in there. Add some egg, leftover meat, gravy, you got something relatively substantial but easy to eat. And if it’s sweet you crave, sweet congee is sooo good. Boil white rice in a lot of water (1:4 ratio) until it’s the consistency you like. Add honey, brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, whatever you like. It’s great hot, but if you have a sore throat or are feeling feverish, cold is the way to go.

    Feel better.

    Reply
  9. savia

    I’m the same way when I’m not feeling well or I’m super stressed. I have to force myself to eat. It’s even worse right now, recovering from the jaw surgery, because eating is such a chore. No wonder people used to get their jaws wired shut to lose weight before. After awhile of trying to liquify their food and suck it through the wires, they just gave up.

    I hope you feel better soon.

    Reply
  10. bipolarbear

    Wow, I never thought about lithium toxicity when I was on it. And back then I was on the precursor to Atkins (even fewer carbs). I know that if I don’t eat when I take Geodon, it doesn’t absorb as easily and I get as dizzy as if I hadn’t taken it. Boy, ain’t this fun!

    Reply

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