One day I married a robot and his name was Dave. Only I didn’t know he was a robot then. Had I known . . .
Evidence That Dave Is a Robot
1. He was advised to quit caffeine due to high blood pressure. He simply substituted coffee every day for . . . Crystal Light.
ACTUAL ROBOT QUOTE: “I don’t need coffee. I just woke up one day and quit. I don’t see why it’s so hard for people.”
2. He doesn’t care what he eats. This is even more infuriating because he can eat whatever he wants. But he doesn’t want to eat whatever he wants!
ACTUAL ROBOT QUOTE: “As long as there’s something for me to eat, I don’t care what it is.”
3. He doesn’t like cake.
ACTUAL ROBOT QUOTE: “Cake just tastes like air.”
But sometimes robots break down.
For as long as I’ve known Dave, he’s had difficulty swallowing food. We used to call it the Fish Condition, because it seemed to strike only when he ate fish. But it soon became clear that it wasn’t just fish, it was all kinds of stuff.
He would take a bite, get very still, swallow, gulp, make weird noises and weirder faces, and finally get up and start walking around. This made me nervous. He assured me he wasn’t choking—just that the food wouldn’t go up or down. Well, actually, it DID eventually come up. This made me not so much nervous as grossed out, but I was really rather concerned about the whole thing. I wanted him to see a doctor.
ACTUAL ROBOT QUOTE: “It doesn’t bother me that much.”
A few years ago we had dinner with Dave’s wonderful non-robot family. At one point, his mother excused herself from the table, disappeared for a few minutes, then returned. When someone asked if she was all right, she said, “Oh, yes. I just got some meat stuck in my throat, and it took a few minutes for it to go down.” Before I could shoot an accusatory look at Dave, one of his brothers chimed in: “When that happens to me, I find that leaning forward while I’m eating . . . “
PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR!
It is NOT normal to choke while you’re eating!
Well, eventually Dave did see a doctor, but only after he’d developed chest pain. “Ask about the swallowing thing!” I screamed as he left.
An upper endoscopy revealed that Dave has eosinophilic esophagitis. Basically, this is a food allergy whereby eosinophils (allergy cells) collect in the esophagus, making it thick and rigid. To determine the cause, he had to eliminate dairy, soy, fish, eggs, nuts, and wheat from his diet. All. at. once.
Do you know what’s in every food? Soy. It warmed my heart to see Dave struggle with this diet, because it meant that he did have food issues, just like the rest of us. He missed his peanut butter sandwiches and giant Hershey bars. He accepted rice milk and rice pasta well enough, but could not abide the sprouted bread. I made him quinoa muffins, which he bravely tasted once. Every time one of us thought of a possible food . . . D’oh! It’s got eggs. Or soy. Or nuts. But usually soy.
The good news? Maybe he’s not a robot after all.
The bad news? No more peanut butter sandwiches.