The first few days (maybe even a week) after the surgery, eating at all is a chore. I actually had to set up hourly reminders in my phone to tell me to have the protein shakes and Powerade. It was all just a… slog.
Similarly, once I started the lean meats stage, eating just an ounce or two at a time was exhausting. It would press at my stomach, making me feel totally full. I didn’t even feel hungry for days and days.
But as I progressed farther into each of the stages, it became less and less of a chore to eat, and instead the frustration grew as I had to continue to deny myself additional food options or increased volume. The first time I was able to take a bite of chicken, it was total bliss. But after a week, the impatience grew as I wanted to eat a larger portion or not wait the half hour between eating and drinking.
So eventually, the inevitable happened. I made a plate of food that was just a touch too big (3.5 oz). And I ate it just a touch too quickly after drinking (20 minutes). Sweet fancy Moses… bad call.
The doctor had warned me that eating carbs too early could cause cause me to “foam at the mouth” as the carbs were digested and some could force themselves back into the esophagus. I hadn’t realized that this was something which could happen even without carbs.
And they never mentioned the pain.
I was totally incapacitated for the better part of an hour. Every few seconds I let loose an uncomfortably loud belch, to the point where it actually started to make my jaw pop. I had drool and spittle filling my mouth every few seconds with that hideous pre-puke copper taste permeating my being.
Oh yeah, and my gut felt like John Hurt in Alien.
Now, I try to be doubly careful. Start a timer on my phone for 30 minutes after I drink and I know I’m going to eat. Put everything on the scale and don’t shade how many ounces are there. Eat half the food, take a 10 minute break, and if I feel any fullness, wait a bit longer before finishing. Yes, it can still be frustrating at times. Yes, it takes more discipline and effort. Yes, it leads to eating some colder, soggier food sometimes.
But at least I won’t feel like an incubator for a xenomorph.