It’s not easy to open my mouth all the way. Even as the stiffening of the skin on my face has eased significantly over the past 40 years (indeed, I have plenty of wrinkles to prove it), I cannot open wide at visits to the dentist or the doctor. My dentist and hygienist and periodontist are all well-versed in managing the complications of working on my teeth. Still, those visits are never easy.
But there’s another aspect to this issue that’s less obvious. And that involves food. In particular, food in restaurants. Most particularly, any kind of fancy sandwich.
Portions are so overdone in most eateries that a panini or vegiburger can be three inches thick or more. And I simply cannot open wide enough to eat it without making a huge mess. (Holding it in my hands is another matter—as in trying not to get sauce or condiments on my bandages, which can infect my ulcers.)
My compromise, on those occasions when I’m hungering for something hearty in sandwich form, is to eat it with a knife and fork. Which works, for the most part, but it’s not the same as tasting all the ingredients together. And manipulating those utensils through thick breads with my hands is no picnic, either.
One trick I’ve learned: It’s easier to eat a sandwich cut on the diagonal than as two rectangles. That way, I can take smaller bites to start and work my way to the center.
But probably the best solution to the restaurant sandwich dilemma: a good, old-fashioned grilled-cheese-and-tomato sandwich. On our trip in December to the Connecticut shore, I had the pleasure of rediscovering this favorite from childhood. Not too thick, not too sloppy (if I wrap it in a napkin as I eat), and so satisfying.
Have any of you with this same scleroderma issue found other good options? Please share!
Image: Lefteris kallergis