Thursday, May 5, 2016

Anna Loses Weight Tho' He Is Eating Well

Anna's bony hand May 2015
Anna, the foodie, is losing weight. It seems losing weight is quite normal for people in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease. I’ve read that if a PD patient has a normal diet, and still loses 8 kgs or more in a year, then the chances are that the patient is reaching the end-stage of the disease (and life). There is really nothing definitive with Parkinson’s Disease. Each patient is different.  They progress and react differently. Most doctors are unwilling or unable to predict what will happen at end-of-life. But, let me save that for another post.

Back to Anna’s weight. He has lost 7 kgs in 8 months. And that has me worried. He has been ill for a number of those months. Respiratory issues in November, eosinophilia in December, and then loose motions in January. But, he’s been eating OK thru’ those illnesses. And exercising. So his loss of weight is baffling.

The weight loss really hit me a last week. I was having coffee with Anna in the morning. He asked me to scratch his back. Normally, the attendant does this for him, but that day, I did.

A baby elephant uses a bit of bark to scratch
an unreachable itch on its back
Photo Courtesy
Now, scratching Anna’s back has some serious method to it.  It starts with spreading the fingers, phalanges bent, scratching from spine to shoulder joint. After about 10 to and fro strokes, the scratching moves to an up-down motion from collarbone to shoulder blade. This progresses to long strokes of scratching from shoulder blade to hip, sweeping from spine to edge of waist and back. Sometime we scratch his back thru’ his T-Shirt and sometime directly his skin.

And the man purrs like a cat when his back is being scratched. His frown disappears. He smiles.

This time, when I scratch his back I feel bones. Knobby shoulder bones. Sharp shoulder blades. Rib ridges. And I realise really how much 7 kilos means on a body! We talk about his weight loss. Tho’ he is eating less (quantity-wise), it’s not that less to cause that much weight loss. Food is regular food – veggies of different colors, fruits, nuts, proteins, carbs. And of course sugar in ice cream, laddoo, coffee, etc.

Me: Anna, you have lost a lot of weight! I can feel your bones.

Anna (giving me a sideway glance and a small grin): I was always bony.

Anna eats ice cream after his evening walk
Me: Rubbish! You were never bony. You were healthy. You are eating OK, but losing weight.

Anna: Maybe, I should eat ice-cream only once a week.

Me (not sure how resisting ice-cream will stop weight loss): Why? Ice-cream is a good energy snack after a walk, Anna.

I can almost hear wellness advocates who read this, wince at the thought that ice-cream is a good energy snack!! But, it is! For Anna.

Vegetable Sooji Upma
Photo Courtesy 
Me (sharing the day’s menu with him): Anna, you are going to get vegetable upma with yogurt for breakfast. You can have mango milk mid-morning and masala dosa, chutney-pudi  and huli (Kannada for sambar) for lunch.  Sounds good?

Anna: Yes.

Me: You also have to have green coconut water. Have it in the afternoon with some almonds and walnuts.

Anna: OK.

Me: You also have to have papaya today.

Anna: Ay-ya-yo! Why?  It is torture. Anna hates eating papaya.

We go thru’ all the reasons why he has to have papaya every day. Yet again.

Me (shamelessly bribing him): You can have an ice-cream when we return from your evening walk.

Anna (after a defeated pause): OK-amma. If you say so.

Me: Anna, if you have a motion today, you can have energy-bomb for dinner.  Or else you will have to have besan-ka-chilla.
My mother called paneer burji energy-bomb when we were kids. 
Besan-ka-chilla helps Anna evacuate his bowels.

Anna: With this menu, I can assure you that I am fully fed up!!

We have a good laugh at this. His humour is intact.

Nestle advertisement in The Times of India 
Me (showing him an ad for Greek Yogurt in the newspaper): Anna, what is the 
difference between mosoroo (Kannada for yogurt) and Greek Yogurt?

Anna gives this some serious thought. Noisily slurps the last drop of coffee from his mug and looks me in the eye and says The  real difference is in the spelling!


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