“All right stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with a brand new addiction…”
I was sitting in an outdoor cafe enjoying great conversation with a friend when I realized that I had a problem.
A car pulled up in front of the restaurant. The driver came around to the back of the vehicle and popped the trunk to expose two large yellow buckets. He lifted them cautiously and set them on the curb. My eyes widened with excitement as he motioned a waitress over to help him carry the buckets into the restaurant.
“LOOK!” I exclaimed to my friend. “Where are they taking those?” I asked in a near-panic. “Can’t they just leave one of those buckets here with me? I just want one bucket!”
My breath quickened and my heart began palpitating like a crack addict needing a fix. I edged further out of my seat about to launch towards the handle, grab the golden bucket and run for my life when all of a sudden my friend’s motion pushed me back into my seat with great force.
“What is wrong with you?” she questioned with a bewildered look upon her face. “It’s ice! What’s the big deal about ice?”
I know it’s just ice but I honestly can’t get enough of it these days. For over a month now I’ve been obsessed with ice. In fact, I make special trips to the grocery store just to pick up a bag of ice with the sole purpose of satisfying my insatiable craving for ice cold water cubes melting upon my tongue.
And, as luck would have it, they just came out with flavored ice. Did you know that? There’s now lemon ice, orange ice, and even lime ice. This is the trifecta in my addictive world! And once I have ice, I chomp on each individual piece like a little kid eager to crack open an Everlasting Gobstopper. It’s insane. No, I’m insane!
When I wake in the morning, I allocate enough time so that I can stop by the convenient store on the corner by my house to get a 44 oz. cup filled with nothing but ice chips to accompany me on the way to work. Who does that? Me. That’s who!
I don’t even recognize myself these days.
Truth is, I have never been addicted to anything before (aside from my own opinion and watching The Office on Thursday nights) so this new dependence on ice really threw me.
That is, until the mystery was solved and the diagnosis received. I was at the home of some friends and they offered me something to drink or eat. I chuckled and said admittedly, “No thanks. Unless I can get a cup of ice ‘cause that’s all I ever want anymore.” My friend’s husband looked at me perplexed. “Are you anemic?” And suddenly I felt completely exposed and naked wondering how he possibly knew that. I thought to myself,
I know I am as pale as Casper, but does he also sense my intense fatigue, my irregular heartbeat, the shortness of breath, dizzy spells, my cold hands/feet and the fact that I can’t complete a thought for the life of me?…
“YES!” I shouted at him as if in Catholic confession, “Severely, in fact!”
“Well,” my friend chimed in, “I must admit I have never seen you look so incredibly pale – Ever!”
“Thanks for voting,” I laughed. “If you must know, my doctor (who lacks bedside manner by the way) told me that my hemoglobin level of 7.1 is equivalent to that of most children living in Haiti.” (She’s all sorts of awesome! HA!) I’d like to think it’s also equivalent to the size of quake Baja experienced yesterday… but I digress. “Honestly, how did you know I was anemic?” I demanded. He responded matter-of-factly, “Because I watch the show House.”
Turns out House recently covered the topic of anemia. Pica more specifically.
Pica is a condition in which people crave and eat food substances with zero nutritious value like ice, chalk, paper, laundry soap, starch, hair, dirt, clay or paint. Ice craving is a form of Pica called pagaphagia (I Googled that part) but cannot pronounce it.
At any rate, thank God my insatiable appetite was not towards dirt or paper! Can you imagine?
I can pica it now, Err, I mean picture it now…
My co-worker comes into the office and I’m sucking on a paper mache elephant head (for example) or sprawled out on the floor licking the dirt off the ground? Or worse yet, eating a hair ball strand by strand! It’s bad enough that I stare at the bags of ice in the grocery store and slobber.
But alas, we have a diagnosis. Pica!
The good news is that the iron pills I began taking a few weeks ago should kick in soon to cure me of my iron-deficiency anemia. Until then, however, I’ve joined the support group “All About Chewing Ice” to help me cope withi this odd condition.
In the meantime, I’ve got an errand to run. There’s a bag of lime ice at the grocery store that’s shouting my name…”Pica! Pica! Pica!”
nom. nom. nom. chomp. chomp. chomp.