One week later (and five pounds lighter), including three days of missed work, I can happily report that the gastroenteritis is almost entirely curbed. I'd say I'm at about 97% right now, the 3% being my body getting used to eating real meals again, and feeling a little tired still from rapid weight loss and lack of fuel. I inherited my mom's quick metabolism, and I didn't exactly have five pounds to lose before the illness, so I'm slowly working on getting back up to a normal weight.
My diet for most of the last week has consisted of mostly soup, applesauce, purposefully bland congee (rice porridge) and a few pieces of white bread. I know this sounds somewhat ludicrous and possibly pretentious, but it felt so, so wrong to not properly season my food when my cook's instinct is to make it right and balance it well. I forget that the primary function of eating is for energy, and I'm grateful that we've evolved from simply fueling ourselves into creative experimentation with flavor, texture and balance.
Another thought I'll take away from this whole bout with stomach flu is this: I'll never again take for granted the ability to eat, and the variety of foods available to me. Around day four, after my millionth or so bowl of soup, I started to dream in Technocolored gastro-porn: cheeseburgers, sashimi, mussels, mayonnaise, over easy eggs, carbonara, corndogs, lardo, burrata, French dips... everything that I physically could not stomach. It actually made me nauseous to think about food, but after a while I really couldn't help it. I am so, so spoiled by the riches around me and I'll never complain about having to taste my sets before I send them out.
I finally felt good enough on day five to attempt eating a real meal. Following a restorative afternoon relaxing in the sun (a nice change from my bedroom), I settled around the dinner table with my boyfriend and his roommates who had made perfectly barbecued chicken, potato salad with Walla Walla sweet onions, fresh-shucked Oregon peas with yogurt and mint, and grilled summer squash. Not a bad welcome back to gastronomy. Adorably, my boyfriend only served me about a third of what I'd normally eat of each, but he was right in doing so as my stomach seems to have gotten tinier with lack of proper usage. Worry not, it'll be back to right in no time.