Some lovely friends set up a Meal Train for us – it is a software/website resource that allows organizers to recruit folx to bring food to people in tough times – during a loss, an illness, a new baby, etc.
Illness is our category. I’ve been writing a lot about that and the associated challenges. This is a great idea because it spreads out the support across many days without adding the challenge of packing things into the freezer. The software lets the recipient identify likes/dislikes, dietary restrictions, examples, etc.
Sue has been ill and her physical health declined over the past year with few answers as of yet. She’s seen 9 different doctors in under a year and has to see 4 more soon.
This is what I wrote for their introduction:
Thanks for reading about our meal train. As you may know, I’ve been dealing with a mystery illness for several years that has taken a toll on my day to day life. One huge challenge is making sure I’m eating enough each day because of my symptoms. I have lost 50 lbs without explanation in under a year and the impact is that I’m weaker, tired, and basically, not hungry. My wife, Laura, has been fantastic through all of this, but she’s had to pick up so much of the household work plus her job obligations – she’s stretched pretty thin. We just need a little break to get through a tough time at work and this period of time I’m waiting to see a new round of specialists.
A friend suggested this and my therapist thinks it is a great option. I am easily overwhelmed by things simple as rearranging the freezer (that takes a lot of concentration and focus) so day to day is ideal. You can read more on my blog about my health journey if you like. I’ve worked with two nutritionists to address how to eat now.
We need help. We can afford food – that’s not issue for us. We do order/takeout a bit. But carving time to prepare and cook is tough for Laura when she works all day at a demanding job with a reduced staff, takes care of all of the house care, laundry, etc. I can do some things, but not nearly enough. We used to have housekeeping service that helped a lot, but the pandemic has destroyed that.
And I can tell you, honey, you can make my dinner tonight Wake up late, honey, put on your clothes An' take your credit card to the grocery store An' that's one for you, and two for me by tonight You'll be rolling on a meal train Fryin' like a plantain Chopping up the romaine One more meal tonight
So this is risky because it taps into my anxiety about being perceived as lesser-abled, taking resources from people who need it more, and that leap of trust about eating other people’s food in a pandemic.
But there’s also the risk that people won’t respond, similar to folx not coming to your party. And that’s my social anxiety kicking into high gear. But it is worth a try if it makes one day for Laura easier. I’ve learned the hard way that if I push myself too hard to pick up the burden, we both pay for it after the fact.
And people have responded – six people offered to prepare meals and 4 people sent gift cards or cash for us to purchase takeout. That’s basically two weeks easily. So hurrah for that.
Also good is that no one has offered unsolicited advice. It is fine if you want to pick up some items at the store and drop them off, but I can’t keep having the same conversation about Greek yogurt, Ensure, and protein powder. I know, I know, trust me I know. At this point in time, I have advisors to help me determine what/how to eat. Random suggestions are a problem, especially because I am often nauseated so discussing food takes an immediate toll on me.
So if you want to join the Meal Train, that would be awesome. I encourage you to check it out to support people in your life (or you) in the future. One of my friends works at a private school where they use this all of the time to support parents and families and staff as needed. She had some very useful feedback for me. And her kid is baking us some cupcakes this weekend!
We have Ring and a pretty decent stoop set up, no awning though. Contactless is best. You show up at the time you selected, put the meal on the stoop, ring the Ring, and that’s that. It is good to include a note of course and your email/address for an acknowledgement. One of us will answer the Ring if we can, but sometimes we miss it.
I’ll let you know how this goes.
Yes, you can send money. I feel like I am constantly posting my $$ handles for all sorts of things, but I know for some people that it is the easiest way to support something
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