The nutritionist who sees me on a regular basis is a Russian woman with an accent to match, straight out of a Le Carre spy story.
“Variety. You want variety. Every week, when you go to market, buy one thing you didn’t buy week before” she is always telling me.
The woman with the crisp white coat who showed me into the darkened ultra-sound room was familiar. In fact, I remembered her well, because her name is Claudia, and she is from Brazil. It’s an odd examination, the ultra-sound: you are in a darkened room, in close proximity to a technician who slides a wand up and down your goop-covered abdomen (in my case), and stares at a screen, without uttering a word on what she is seeing. You can’t make aimless chitchat because she is concentrating so you are left with eyes turned towards the ceiling, wondering if she is seeing something you are not going to know about until your doctor calls you.
A couple of years ago, once I got home after a fundraising lunch, I looked in the goodie bag that had been left under my chair, and found a pair of attractive bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I had read about these products online, in passing – clearly a well orchestrated media campaign, if even I took notice.
Whenever I get a cold, I am always terrified I will not regain the sense of smell or taste. A few years ago, after two weeks had gone by and the cold was long gone, I couldn’t smell anything yet, and the only tastes that came through my buds were sweet, salty or sour. Everything else was indistinguishable. As a chef, not being able to taste or smell is a major handicap and I ran to my doctor, in a state of panic. He reassured me and told me that, sometimes, it takes longer.
He was right, and my taste buds and nose returned to work a few days later.
On a resplendent Saturday afternoon, driving along the coast in Orange County, a commercial came on the radio for a famed Los Angeles hospital and its cutting edge breast cancer treatments.
“How does it feel, now, when you hear stuff like this?” the friend sitting next to me asks.
“A bit more personal” I answer. And leave it at that.