While you were in intensive care you may have received your food as a liquid. You may have been fed through a tube inserted into your nose and down into your stomach, or by a drip straight into your vein. Your body will have used its stored fat and muscle for energy to help fight your illness. You may have difficulty eating because:
- you don’t feel hungry
- your mouth is too sore to eat
- food tastes different
- it hurts to swallow
Try starting with small portions and eat more often during the day. Instead of having big meals, have small meals and 2 or 3 snacks each day. You can buy specially prepared milk drinks and desserts, like the ones you were given in hospital, which contain lots of vitamins and minerals.
Take your time when eating. Relax afterwards to avoid indigestion. If some foods taste very salty or sweet it’s likely that your taste buds are taking time to get back to normal. This is common and will soon improve – don’t add extra salt or sugar to your food in the meantime.
Check with your doctor before you drink alcohol if this is something you normally enjoy. The medicine you’re taking or your overall health condition may make it necessary to wait to have a drink again. Some medicines don’t interact well with alcohol. If it is safe to have drink it’s best to be careful not to drink too much.
Strong antibiotics and steroids can lead to infections such as oral candida (thrush) in your mouth. Thrush can cause a thick white substance to form on your tongue and the roof of your mouth. This makes it painful to swallow. If you think you might have thrush talk to your family doctor about it as it can be treated easily.
During your recovery you’ll want to make sure you drink enough fluids. It’s important not to become dehydrated.
- dry out your skin
- make your body produce less urine – this can affect how well your kidneys work
- make you feel very weak and tired
Water is your best choice to drink. You can also drink juice, tea, or coffee. Limit the amount of caffeine in your drinks so that you stay hydrated and so that you can sleep better.