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No food from midnight the previous day, my gynae told me yesterday. To be safe I will probably not eat after 19h00 next Wednesday. The next morning I will be going to hospital to have my womb removed. Yes. Well. Not exactly a topic for a food related blog, I know. But the prospect of being in hospital for a couple of days recovering from major surgery has ever so slightly increased my appetite. I, like many many people and women in particular (I hear that a lot from my patients) eat more of the “wrong” foods when I am anxious. Not that I really subscribe to the idea of wrong foods, but just the last week I bought myself on two occasions, potato crisps, which I ate, very fast, as If I were very hungry, on my way home. Very unusual for me. But I know what it’s about: I am really, really nervous about having this surgery. I have in the past been able to have a clear sense of equanimity before surgery (not that I have had many: a back operation 5 years ago, some other minor things which required general anesthetic). And here’s the thing: I like having general anesthetic. That moment when one tips back into unconsciousness is, for me, pure blissful surrender to the total unknown, and I have never been afraid of that. So what, you may ask, is the anxiety about? I think it’s really about how my body will be changed after. Not so much having a scar across my lower belly(though my vanity certainly will be challenged), but the idea that I will not have my womb anymore. I thought that being a psychologist I would have been able to not be irrational about this, since I do not need a womb anymore at my age and having had two children, now aged 29 and 25, but I found myself crying in the shower this morning. It’s complex, the relationship women have with their wombs. And I am no exception.

It does not help that I will have to face hospital food for days. Not exactly my favourite. It’s like airline food(economy class at least):  bland, either too hot or too cold, which one eats out of pure necessity. On a plane I can at least order a mini bottle of wine or sparkling wine. Now that could make hospital food more palatable! A glass of bubbly… Could add some glamour to the drab grey of that steel tray which always, always seems to stick when one tries to swing it in over the bed. Sigh. None such, I know. Even the tea in hospital seems awful: tasting of bleach which I am sure they use to clean the teacups with.

And now I have successfully thought myself into a blue funk. I love a good cup of tea about as much as I love a glass of good sparkling wine.

The upside? I may lose some weight! And I will be free of the pain and discomfort and the monthly drama of bleeding so much that I sometimes almost faint. And in a couple of weeks the wound will have healed, and I will be back at work, and back in my kitchen cooking for friends and family, with renewed vigour and appreciation for La Dolce Vita..

I don’t have bubbly in the fridge and it is rather late on this Valentine’s night which I am spending alone(my beloved is playing the sax at a top end restaurant for other valentine couples), so I think I will make myself a cup of tea and get into bed and try not to think too hard about a week from now.