Perhaps past gluttony has sought its revenge on me this summer.

So far there have been no lobsters and clams dripping in drawn butter, no hot dogs off the grill, no crab rolls at Dolphin Marina, no seafood platter at Bay Haven in Cornish, no greasy hamburgers at Scarborough Beach, or strawberry shortcake mounded with whipped cream.

The proximate cause of this dietary deficit has been, as I pointed out in a previous column, a severe case of pancreatitis. Now I am beginning to think that a lifetime of overindulgence may have contributed to this illness.

I love food and I am not always very discriminating about what I eat, so it’s hard for people to understand when I try to explain that I have no appetite. For one thing, I am being fed by a central food tube, which I also blame for the loss of appetite. If you are not allowed to eat anything by mouth, sooner or later the body starts to get the message that it doesn’t want or need the food.

It’s not that I’m not hungry, it’s not that I wouldn’t love to scarf down an Italian sandwich, devour a bagel with lox and cream cheese, pig out on a pulled pork sandwich, or dive into a couple of big fish tacos. I’d love to; I just wouldn’t be able to get them in my mouth.

As I understand it, I seem to have developed a food aversion similar to those experienced by some pregnant women. But even that isn’t an exact explanation. I am not repulsed by food, I just can’t seem to find anything I can eat.

In my dietary decline, I have explored all kinds of nutritional sideroads, including a retro path back to foods I haven’t eaten since I was a child. Wouldn’t Spaghetti O’s taste good about now, or maybe Chef Boyardee ravioli, or La Choy chop suey?

While lying in hospital beds on and off this summer, I have listened while invisible roommates on the other side of the curtain order sumptuous meals of chicken tenders and tater tots, cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies, even lobster rolls. And then consume them all.

Meanwhile, I pick at the cream of wheat, and mostly subsist on apple juice.

Maybe as my pancreas heals my appetite will return. If not, I could be in big trouble. If anyone has any serious suggestions for overcoming food aversion (even medical marijuana failed to give me the munchies), I’d love to hear them.

Bon appetite.


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