While wishing a happy new year to a friend on the phone, she commented that the brand new new year of 2023 was “So far so good”. Being only about half a day into January 1st, I had to laugh, but it felt pretty hopeful.
It was a nice day, weirdly and unseasonably warmer, which culminated in an annual dinner gathering of people I only see about once a year through mutual friends. Great food, good conversation. I actually wrote about it back in 2012, Same Time Next Year. When you see the same group of people only one or two times a year for only a few hours over the course of almost thirty years, the changes are obvious – it’s sort of like watching a film flashing forward in high speed. After a reflective evening, I thought to myself, yup, so far so good, and decided that might be my mantra for the coming year.
So two days later, when it felt like someone stuck a dagger into my side, I was holding onto my mantra and self-diagnosing via Google. Since Diagnosis By Google can sometimes freak you out, I avoided what might be scary and rationally decided it was probably this, although it might be this, and maybe just possibly this. To alleviate it I can do that, and take some of that to fix it, or maybe it will just go away by itself. Four days later none of the solutions I was employing seemed to have any effect – the pain wasn’t going away. As a matter of fact, it was getting worse. Of note, has anyone ever noticed these things tend to peak when it is a weekend or holiday? Those times where seeing your regular MD, or a veterinarian for your pet, becomes impossible?
So it was a trip to the hospital ER, where it was discovered I had let it go on too long – long enough that I developed an intestinal infection bad enough to admit me. (I could not help but wonder if it was all that burnt granola I had been eating). I have a serious aversion to being in the hospital. Although I try to be good, after some not so great experiences, I have tried to avoid them if possible. I wrote about one of my hospital disasters in The P.I.A years ago. Another of my not so comical “comedy of errors” sub-par experiences was actually published in a nursing journal. I even once signed myself out of the hospital “against medical advice” when the care had fallen woefully short. This is not to say there are aren’t great hospitals and wonderful staff, and that they wouldn’t save your life. Of course I would be grateful for all of it and not so stupid as to not know that. It’s just that, unfortunately, it hasn’t been part of my reality in the past.
Since there were many people in the ER waiting for a bed, they let me go home with the promise I would diligently follow their directions, follow up with a doctor, and to come back to be admitted if it doesn’t improve or gets worse. So here I am at home, glowing with radiation, a model of instruction-following acquiescence, hopped up on multiple antibiotics and consigned to a liquid diet for a few days. Hungry and cranky and so looking forward to starting some real food again. The real first food would be Pastina, a warm bowl of gentle, generational love, either cooked in some broth or with a little bit of butter. Except…… have you heard about the travesty regarding Pastina?
Ronzoni has decided to discontinue Pastina! My grandmother, my aunts and my mother are probably all rolling in their graves. Every Italian should be outraged! Even if you are not Italian you should be outraged! Pastina!!!!! How many children have been soothed with a bowl of Pastina? How many elderly people have benefitted from this digestable comfort food? How many people recovering from surgery or the flu are able to enjoy a consoling bowl of Pastina? Little stars! Don’t take away our Little Stars!
This is a cosmic slap in the face….or (in my case) another knife in the side. It’s a Ronzoni knife right in the back. Pastina! Ronzoni, how could you?
2023….So far, could be better…….