For me Popo (my maternal grandmother) was the best cook in the whole wide world. In fact, her Cantonese cooking was so close to my heart that I included a Recipes page in my blog on taking care of her. One of the dishes that she was able to cook into her 90s was Century Egg Porridge.
Popo had a hearty appetite too. She continued to eat relatively well for the first two of the four years that she was bedridden. Yes, she enjoyed her chicken drumstick, ice-cream cones, as well as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was only in the last year and a half of her life that her appetite waned.
Popo's mind was very clear when she eventually told us that she did not want to eat anymore. She asked that we give her Ensure for her meals. So, we filled a small bottle with Ensure and placed it by her bed. She sipped on it throughout the day. Once finished, we replaced it with a new bottle.
Of course it was hard for me to come to terms with the changes. I enjoyed watching Popo enjoying her food. I felt the loss of no longer being able to buy yummy Lontong for her and bond over her favourite local dishes. But, I also knew that she was making sense. She understood the nutritional value of Ensure as I had explained it to her before.
Ensure can be a total meal replacement for someone who is not taking food. It’s also a good supplement or complement to those who are having meals, but not getting enough nourishment because of the food they choose.
So, I knew that Popo would be getting the calories and nutrients needed in a balanced meal by taking Ensure. With the help of the doctors and nurses, we calculated how much Ensure that Popo would need each day to maintain a healthy weight and her body immunity.
Everything worked out well. Ensure was her main sustenance until the end of her life. Of course, some stuff still whet her appetite from time to time, and we’d readily cook it for her or run down to buy it. I’m glad that I was inspired to get her a durian not long before she was down with Pneumonia and completely stopped taking in any food or drink by mouth. She passed away peacefully in her sleep at age 98.
I have lovely memories of Popo chomping chicken wings, sipping Ensure, slurping ice cream, and savouring durians. From time to time, when I think of Popo, I comfort myself with a bowl of Century Egg Porridge. The image you see in this picture depicts my Popo bringing me to school. I miss her!
How have mealtimes changed for you and your loved one? How are you coping with the changes? What are the things that you continue to enjoy together? Do share. I would love to hear from you.
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