Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ice-oholics Unite

It seems I have a disorder. Some of you may be thinking I have several. One day, just before spring break I was sitting in my office working at my computer, as I am now (I'm on my lunch break in case anyone is wondering) when our school nurse steps in to let me know she's here (Our nurse's office is located in a room inside the library - go figure). At some point she looks at me and asks if I am anemic. "Why, yes. Yes, I am. But what made you ask?", I say. To which she says, "Because I notice you eat a lot of ice." Well, there you have it. A reason for my incessant ice chewing.

I go through a few glassfuls of it each day at school. Again at home and then, always, one more glass as I am sitting in bed just prior to falling asleep. At restaurants I go through several refills, mainly because I am eating my way through a glass of it and the liquid contents happen to get consumed in the process, and end the meal by asking the waiter for a "to-go" ice water, lots of ice. And let's not forget all the times I ask John to run us through a drive-thru just for ice. At times I feel guilty about doing this because most places don't charge for it, so I will end up getting a bottled water. And, for the record, let me just state that Zaxby's has GREAT ice. They charge a quarter a cup, though. Or is it 50 cents? Some people go out for ice-cream. I go out for ice. Even my kids have started asking, "Can we stop by Zaxby's for ice and can we have our own cup?" I am selfish when it comes to my ice and they know it. "No, John-Heath. This is mommy's ice. Remember, you don't want my germs." I digress.

Karen, my nurse-friend, told me she had heard that sometimes people who are anemic do eat a lot of ice. And, according to research I did after our conversation, she was right! This condition is known as pagophagia.

pa•go•pha•gia (p g -f j )
A craving to eat ice, often associated with iron-deficiency anemia.
The compulsive eating of ice.
Mentioned in: Pica
Etymology: Gk, pagos, frost, phagein, to eat
an abnormal condition characterized by a craving to eat enormous quantities of ice. It is associated with a lack of the nutrient iron. pagophagic, pagophagous, adj.

Unfortunately for me, it is not a condition that garners much sympathy. It seems that, even when you properly chew with your mouth closed, people can still hear you. My mom absolutely abhors it - even with her poor hearing she knows the exact moment my molars clamp down on a piece if she is within a 30 ft. radius. I get the same speech each time..."Just go on and break your teeth out, Tyla. No one can tell you anything." My sister it seems, though she did not verbalize her feelings at the time, was quite embarrassed when I did it at the movies with her once. And of course John makes me aware of his displeasure with it each night at bedtime.
I suppose I need to seek help before this habit, ahem, I mean condition, gets any worse, spiraling my life out of control to the point all I can focus on is where to get my next fix. Anyone know the number for the local chapter of Ice Eaters Anonymous?

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