Friday, 10 July 2015

I Bite My Tongue These Days

I'm going to have to change the way I eat. Now I know that there are some of you out there with your own thoughts on this; just hold on to them. This change is not about diet. It's not about my ability to inhale a half a cow at one sitting before anyone else has taken more than a couple of bites. It's not about my food choices, either.

Over the last six months or more, I have noticed an increasing tendency for me to bite the inside of my lips, cheek and tongue. Obviously this happens when I eat, but it also happens when I drink, when I talk, when I am just sitting, doing nothing. Biting myself is not just mastication related; it happens whenever my teeth move inside my mouth, something that all of us do all of the time, only without noticing.

A while ago I was out with my daughter for dinner and this happened. She said "Dad, if you take smaller bites and slow down, maybe it won't happen as much." I thought to myself, "That's kind of like telling me if I paid more attention to what I was holding and slowed down, I wouldn't drop things as much." Nonetheless, out of an abundance of respect for her opinion, I tried it. For the last few weeks I have paid a lot of attention to what I eat, bite sizes, and chewing carefully.

The situation is unchanged. I bit my lips and tongue just as much, whether I am eating slow or fast, big bites or small. I have learned a few things, however. I've learned that I tend to bite myself more when I eat crispy things, like apples or celery. I have to be very careful with these foods. I've learned that I bite myself more when I eat complex foods with multiple textures, things like a good burger with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and a big patty. I need to be very careful.

I find I prefer to chew on the left side of my mouth, something that I haven't paid a lot of attention to. Since my left side is where I am getting weaker, it makes sense that I would bite myself more here, and with a chewing preference for the left, it makes even more sense. Finally, I find I bite myself later in the eating process, rather than earlier. My guess is this is simple because of eating habits and the fact that I am thinking less about the process and more about enjoying my food.

Losing the ability to eat will not happen all at once. I am not ready for soft food, blended foot, simple food, at least not yet. I am, however, clearly losing my ability to not bite myself. I have to start with that.


  1. Dear Rick is this part of ALS? A progression of the disease. I wish not. love Mom

  2. Dear Rick is this part of ALS? A progression of the disease. I wish not. love Mom