New definitions of Normal

When you’re racing, all too rapidly, toward the tail end of your seventh decade, “normal” takes on new meanings. Cycling into and out of depression is normal. I’m used to it. I know it will pass. But when it’s accompanied by an extended spell of being all-over sick in a way that interferes with even the most basic tasks of daily life, I start wondering. Is this the new normal? Why did it strike so suddenly? And if it isn’t going to go away, how am I going to cope?

If this was it, the final stage of the journey, it would mean that the little bit of gardening I’ve undertaken for the first time in 20 years or so has slammed to a halt before it’s barely begun. It would mean that all the writing projects in progress and planned will remain right where they are — unfinished or unstarted.

And then, suddenly, I had a good day. Good by my usual measure for this time of life. I might never have known what happened — why I’d been so sick and why I was, from one day to the next, over it, except for the various news sites I read. An E. coli warning. From the Gold Medal company, makers of the very flour that was sitting in my refrigerator and that I’d been making bread with. And yes, my bag of flour was being recalled. I didn’t have all the symptoms, thank goodness, but that was probably due to an amazing coincidence: I had recently decided to back off on baking and eating all that delicious bread I’d been pigging out on, and go to a modified low-carb diet for a while.

So the flour that was left got tossed in the garbage, and the bread machine will be collecting dust for a while. June is going  to be low-carb month. Since the depression disappeared along with the E. coli, maybe it will also be a writing month.


9 thoughts on “New definitions of Normal

  1. Isn’t E. coli destroyed by cooking? Wouldn’t your bread be safe after proper baking?

    I can see your counters, breadboard, hands getting contaminated – and possibly you ingesting some from there – maybe that was it.

    So sorry you’ve been under the weather. Guess I’m glad I haven’t baked in ages: I’m more likely to find flour weevils than E. coli in my flour.

    1. Cross contamination is definitely possible, even with normal cleanup. I didn’t think of that. But there was — coincidentally the other day, an article saying that some E. coli bacteria can survive temps that were once considered safe. It only mentioned meat, which now should be cooked at temps above 160 degrees. Besides the bread, I also made cornmeal pancakes with that flour. I don’t know what that temperature would have been, but lots lower than the bread machine.

      Oh please don’t eat raw dough. I used to do stuff like that until the possibility of contaminated eggs came up. And here I’ve been avoiding fresh veggies and fruit that can’t easily be washed. The risks are certainly becoming worse. In fact, I had bought raspberries on sale, and wondered if they were carrying some nasties.

      1. In my mother’s household in Mexico, the vegetables and fruit were always washed in some kind of bath (iodine, maybe) the minute they came in the house, dried carefully, and put away ready to use. It limits their lifetime a bit to get wet, but protected from all kinds of possibilities.

        Raw dough – which I don’t eat very often any more – is one of the pleasures of life. Especially chocolate chip cookie dough. Okay, any cookie dough. And some batters. Not a good plan, but we’ve been lucky.

        Note that they haven’t proved the Gold Medal connection at this point. They do like to cast a wide net, just in case.

        1. Yeah, chocolate chip cookie dough could be a temptation.

          Whatever the final decision about the flour is, I definitely had the symptoms, though comparatively mild, from what I’ve read about them. One reason I’m trying to grow my own veggies, as much as is possible, is that I don’t trust fresh produce anymore. We’ll see how that goes. But if flour can be contaminated, than anything can.

    1. I was over it before I even heard about the recall. It could have been worse. Now I just have my usual chronic health problems to deal with, but they’re old friends — sort of.

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