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research in bed

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Now I’m down to eating only oatmeal porridge — what Swedes call gröt.  I had oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner yesterday and for breakfast and lunch today. And I suspect there’s more oatmeal on the menu tonight.  A bowl of oatmeal has most of what you need for survival — stomach filler, lots of milk, big wallops of jam; carbohydrates, liquid, protein, vitamins.  And  I can just about get it down my swollen gullet.

In addition, oatmeal is Swedish peasant food and hence a great comfort food for me.  I ate it all the time as a kid, and always on Saturdays when my mother was away at work and my father was in charge of cooking.  My father had a theory that all food ultimately can be reduced to gröt.  Oatmeal is the basic stuff of which all other foods are made.  Given his theory, there was really no reason to eat other things, and towards the end of his life he didn’t.  My father virtually died with the gröt spoon in his hand.

And you know, it feels like the oatmeal actually helps my dry mouth.  I looked it up, and it turns out oatmeal is used to help people with eczema and other skin problems.  But I’ve never seen any references to oatmeal in connection with radiation treatment.  Now every meal is like a medical experiment.  I’ll suggest it as a research paper for doctor Ding when I meet her tomorrow.

I’ve done some etymological research too — I now know exactly what it feels like to be “mealy mouthed,” to have oatmeal in your mouth all day.  It’s soothing, but no one can really understand what you’re saying.  {In Swedish, incidentally, you can say that someone speaks with a grötig röst, meaning”porrigy, outmealy, voice”}

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