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September 13, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Don’t feed it after midnight

This is like my last supper; let’s have McDonalds!

At an early age, I decided my mother gave the best hugs in the entire history of mankind. Not that I was a promiscuous child, but I have hugged a fair few people, enough to know that their hugging styles paled in comparison. But as I watch her being prepped for a gastric bypass, I can’t help but think that following the dramatic weight loss expected over the coming 12 months I will be cruelly robbed of ‘mum cuddles’.

Being about as graceful and delicate as an overweight rhinoceros during my younger years, it was not unusual for me to get into tricky situations, like dangling by my overalls from a tree while gathering pine cones. My arse, back, and head served primarily as means of breaking my fall. But, no matter what I scraped, where I fell, or how I done goofed, a hug from Mum sorted everything. One day, I remember sitting in a small classroom after my knee somehow made it through a school window. I was scolded by a teacher and mortified that it was my bloody knee that managed to break a window five feet above the ground; then mum arrived and simply looked at me like the moron I was before giving me a damn hug. See? Problem solved.

But she’s sitting now, getting blood tests and arranging her dinner for this evening. For anyone who has ever been in hospital, the food is akin to shite on toast. Forced to suffer the degrading practise of nil-by-mouth, mum is given the option of lentil soup or broth, which draws us to the hard, cold facts of a gastric bypass: you never get to eat like your average tubby git ever again.

After years of spontaneous noms and between-meal smackerels, mum will never again stomach Mars Bars, Tunnocks Tea Cakes, or cheesecakes. She often mentions that one of her favourite moments in life was waddling, heavily pregnant with me, through Liverpool to Marks & Spencer, purchasing Fruitfuls and full-fat cream to mix and scoff before throwing up like all normal pregnant women. So when stuck with lentil soup or broth for her Last Supper, you can imagine she’s a bit miffed.

We’ve been here an hour now, meeting nurses, dieticians and physiotherapists and while the lentil soup is an ongoing issue, the team is marvellous. A buzz of excitement is in the air as she goes down to x-rays and an ECG, where mum explains “they’re going to squeeze all my wobbly bits”. This is the first day of the rest of her life and with a nervous smile she tells me we’re going shopping in Melbourne. She’s happy and for that, I don’t mind sacrificing my mum cuddles.

But with a room to herself and a television screening Cartoon Network (“Is there Invader Zim? I like that one?”), Atticus and I agree the physiotherapy might be more challenging. Sitting nervously in an armchair while a physiotherapist details ways in which she could “get fit” post-mangled stomach, mum was politely asked what her current exercise routine was like:

“I don’t.”

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