Food for happy thoughts
by Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza
October 4, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – Whenever someone comments about my love for food, I would jokingly say “I’m just paying my debts because the thought of eating again was one of the reasons why I got out of the hospital.”
When I think about it, it was really one of the reasons why I regained my physical strength quicker than the usual.
During my two months stay at the hospital in 2005, I developed hospital-acquired pneumonia. My health quickly and severely deteriorated. Swallowing became a terrible burden. I always choked, even from my own saliva. I was inserted with a nosagastric tube (NGT) through the nose, past my throat and down to my stomach, in order to facilitate ingestion of food and fluids. I couldn’t eat the foods that I craved for. In fact, I couldn’t eat at all.
My only source of nourishment was the blended food that passed through the NGT. Whenever I smelled the food that my family and friends ate inside my hospital room, I always imagined their taste and pretended that I was eating them as well with gusto. But there were times when I got envious because I wanted to eat so badly. I got furious with them for eating inside my room and allowing me to smell the scent of delicious food.
Stuck on a hospital bed with a tube on my nose and dextrose on my left arm, I was hardly able to move. My left body was paralyzed. I was so weak and feeble. I lost my sense of hearing. I was living in my own world of silence.
I kept eerily silent not because I was thinking about my deteriorating health condition, but because my mind was elsewhere. I often daydreamed and thought of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and what kind of food I wanted to eat. I dreamed about foods and even talked about them in my sleep.
Funny, but whenever I thought about food, it really helped me and motivated me to go on fighting for my life and to cooperate with the doctors’ advice and wishes so that I could get better quickly and get out from the hospital as soon as possible. I really wanted to go out and have fun with my friends again.
It was not on my wish list to spend Christmas Day of that year in the hospital. I prayed so hard. I was determined to be home for Christmas with my family and friends. Faith and determination, plus my desire to spend some fun time with my family and friends are the keys that have kept me going, until the present. Christmas Day that year was one of the best days of my life because I was discharged from the hospital and had my wish come true.
According to Peter Pan, happy thoughts can lift you up in the air. In real life, happy thoughts cannot make us fly, but beautiful and happy thoughts can lift us above the cares and problems of daily living, allowing us to do our tasks with greater ease and comfort.
People would always ask me, “How do you overcome the trials that come in your life?” In a happy tone, I answer with confidence, “Happy thoughts and beautiful memories.”
When things do not seem to come my way, I find comfort and pleasure from thinking of something happy and pleasant, be it a past event, something I want to do, or anything that I like, for that matter. In truth, it has become a habit of mine to think of positive and happy thoughts that even my subconscious mind is filled with them!
If we keep telling ourselves the same things over and over again, eventually, we start to believe the truths they offer, which in turn, will push us into positive and concrete actions. If we are in control of our own minds, we need to feed it with something beautiful and nice. Since I was young and became aware of the real meaning of the word ‘’optimism’’, I told myself that I will try look at the positive side of things, constantly repeating that “I am an optimist” until it became a spontaneous habit. I am now living with a positive attitude in life, knowing that even in the most difficult of situations, thoughts and hopes of good outcomes are not far behind.
I remember when I had my first major open brain surgery, my Mom asked me, “Hindi ka ba natatakot?” I answered. “Eh, matutulog lang naman ako pag-inooperahan, tapos pag gising ko, tapos na.”
I came across a Bible verse that says: “Looking unto Jesus; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame...” (Hebrews 12:2)
Pondering upon the verse, even Jesus had happy thoughts that helped Him through His pains and sufferings. His ultimate joy came from His own suffering - to see us delivered from sins and be brought closer to the Kingdom of God.
How about you, what are your happy thoughts?
I often thought of this list when I was in the hospital (in 2005) and says, "kakainin ko pa yung nasa listahan ko" and in 2007, i finally got to eat everything.. yey!