A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Subject is Tomatoes, or Ask Me about My Colon!

I’m having a very good year with my small garden of three tomato plants. Despite a very wet June, and a cool July, it took just one week of hot and humid August days to allow my crop to ripen. So far, I’ve picked 110 tomatoes of various sizes from large ones suitable for slicing into sandwiches, to smaller ones for my salads.

The neighbors have also benefited from my bounty. A dozen or so on this side and a dozen or so on the other side, and 20+ went to Anne Marie’s office...and they’re still coming. My other plants — one green pepper, and one multi-colored pepper — have not fared as well, mainly because something ate all of the leaves from these plants, rendering them unproductive.

I suspect the groundhog, that lives under our sun porch a few feet away from my patch, is the pepper plant leaf eater. I wouldn’t mind getting rid of the critter — particularly since its last two rent checks bounced — but Anne Marie, Steven, and Meredith think he’s cute. So the groundhog stays, I have no peppers, but I still have lots and lots of tomatoes!

I ate tomato sandwiches on a bagel, with bacon and lettuce (the classic American lunch, behind peanut butter and jelly), on rye with cheese, and on 12-grain bread. I was feeling great about eating the fruits of my well-earned labor. I was stretching our grocery bill, improving my health by eating less meat, and adding nutrients like lycopenes to my diet, which would decrease my chances of contracting certain diseases by eating tomatoes! Yes, I was ready to be totally resistant to prostate cancer with my new totally tomato diet.

Unfortunately, my colon had other ideas...

(Now I know what you’re thinking, dear reader. Of all the 29 million plus blogs that exist in the world, you happen to stumble into one where a middle-aged guy is kvetching about his lower intestinal tract. Yeah, well, what can I say other than life isn’t always fair. Deal with it! Now back to my story...)

I developed severe abdominal pains after about five days of my tomato orgy. After two days of the pain, I finally got to see one of the doctors in my primary care practice. The doctor diagnosed diverticulitis, which, if you’ve never had it, is a lot like a urinary tract infection without the fever. And if you’ve never had a urinary tract infection, consider yourself very, very lucky.

It seems that my condition is aggravated by small bits of food that land in small pockets inside the intestine, and stay there undigested until they rot and inflame the intestinal walls. A few foods that qualify for this honor include peanuts and... (drum roll and or Shakespearean clap of thunder, please)...tomato seeds! Believe me, when tomato seeds accumulate in your lower gut, hilarity does not ensue.

The doctor gave me scripts for two antibiotics and suggested a cat scan. I have filled the scripts, which have greatly relieved the pain. I hope that within a few days I can resume my tomato diet, but I will do things differently from now on. I will try to eat them every other day, and I will do my best to remove all seeds before gorging myself again on this fruit.

(Thank you for reading! Please remember to consume tomatoes safely!)


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