The doctors text me twice and call me once before I get back to them. It’s not urgent because I know they’re just going to tell me my iron is low again. I know because I’ve been really lazy with my supplements and haven’t changed my diet at all. You have to be really trying with spinach or ripping red meat from the bone and I am neither.
I arrive early and the doctor is running late. There’s a girl playing with toys and mumbling energetically to herself in a corner. She’s got a large plastic ball with holes of different shapes that you’re meant to push corresponding blocks through. Instead she’s opened the hatch at the top and if stuffing all the shapes inside, including some plastic people from a different toy.
After a while of shoving them in and yanking them out, she gets them all in, closes the hatch, shakes them and then empties them from a height onto the floor. She shouts joyously, Biscuits for everyone!
Then her face becomes serious. She picks up one of the plastic people and holds it close. But we won’t tell anyone, she whispers.
She’s getting into an unhealthy relationship with food nice and early.
The doctor advises me on my diet. Turns out my zinc is low too but he thinks soups and stews are the answer. He likes to make eight litre batches and freeze them. It’s so good, he says, before listing off some flavours of soup. And, when you’ve got something in, you’re so much less likely to get a takeaway.
Look, he turns to me, what would it take for you to eat beef a couple times a week?
I trudge to the supermarket.
If you’ve ever seen raw kangaroo you’ll know that it’s aggressively full of iron. So much darker than beef. And cheaper. And more sustainable. It’s a win win. But don’t do what I did and try to cook it like beef. Because you’ll end up in a rehearsal room a few hours later with the toughest meat of your life while other people tell you how good it smells.
But I am, at least, getting some iron.
The others go outside for a cigarette and I join them for the fresh air. I’ve forgotten that it’s still thirty-two degrees at 9pm and the incongruous heat makes me immediately uncomfortable. Immediately aware of my body. Aware of the sweat on my skin. Aware of the taste of blood in my mouth.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 14th January 2018 as part of Internet Care Package.
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