An inadvertent 30-hour famine

I had a colonoscopy yesterday. (Not prompted by a health issue, thank goodness. Just one of those routine 50+ events.) Everyone told me, “The procedure is no big deal; it’s the preparation that’s unpleasant.” And so it was.

Most people dislike the “cleanse” that precedes a colonoscopy, but for me the fasting was the worst.

I enjoy breakfast. I eat something as soon as I get out of bed every morning. I get very grumpy when I don’t eat first thing. I get grumpy as a grizzly bear after hibernation if I don’t eat all day. (Let me tell you, my family gave me a wide berth on Wednesday.)

Besides being rather . . . testy, I accomplished little over the past couple of days. Without food I had no energy. Without food I couldn’t think straight. I did a lot of lying around watching bad daytime television.

Last night, after the procedure was over, I sat down to dinner with my family. Hurray! Food! But my stomach was still in recovery mode, so it made a lot of interesting noises. My 16-year-old son found this highly amusing. I said, “Well, my stomach’s been empty for a day and a half. Can you imagine if your stomach was empty for that long?”

Then I realized he could. Both of my children have participated several times in the 30-hour famine for World Vision. To create empathy for hungry children in other parts of the world, well-fed teenagers go with nothing but water or juice and one bowl of rice for 30 hours.

I realized that I had completed an inadvertent 30-hour famine, so I began to think about hungry people around the world and how difficult it is for them to break the cycle of their circumstances. How can they take action to improve their lives when they have no energy? How can they make things better when they can’t think straight?

My own short-lived period of fasting plunked me into a place of empathy for those who don’t have enough to eat day after day after day. We need to create long-term solutions to their problems, for sure, but first we need to give them the energy to think straight.


CARE Canada is one of my favourite hunger-fighting charities. If you give to them, they receive your donation with gratitude, but they don’t put you on a mailing list that sends an endless stream of solicitations for more.

Current CARE Logo

Current CARE Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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