My dad likes to sneak in his flask filled with bourbon, rum or moonshine to every single SF Giants night game at AT&T Park he attends. For a good long while the running joke was that when he got older he would have to fill the metal flask with Ensure and take a little taste every time the usher's head was turned away. I don't think that either of us could have envisioned a point in time where I would be getting eighty percent of my caloric intake in a given day via a feeding tube from the object of our funny little family joke.

Do you have any idea how expensive Ensure is? A buck and a half per bottle if you're lucky for the extra calorie Plus stuff. Consider that I guzzle on average 5.3 repeating decimal bottles a day and you don't have to be a member of the Federal Reserve to realize that our road to the poor house was being paved with recycled nutritional supplement containers.

Upon further examination of our medical benefits, we discovered that Kaiser would pay the tab for my life-sustaining liquid diet. The only catch was that for contractual reasons they couldn't provide Ensure. Instead they sent over about six cases of this stuff called Nutren (made by the fine folks at Nestle). Well, something in Nutren did not sit well in my stomach. It felt like I had eaten a gut-bomb grease covered hamburger after every feeding. It got so bad that my skin would get all clammy the second an ounce of that rot-gut hit my system. A month of intestinal distress and description defying deuces later, we were back on the Ensure.

Fehmeen spoke to someone at Kaiser and learned that there was another option called Boost. My one and only experience with Boost was the first time I went to Club Med Cancún. One night in the disco I discovered a blue colored cocktail named Vodka Boost (although at the time I heard the bartender refer to it as Vodka Booze. Must have been the music or the accent or the fact that I have subjected my poor ears to over a hundred concerts). Anyway, I couldn't figure out after two consecutive evenings of drinking only that concoction why I was having such a difficult time falling asleep at night. Apparently, one of the main ingredients in Boost was the banned-in-America drug Ephedra. No wonder I couldn't crash out, I'm lucky that crap didn't kill me.

Once I was certain that the six cases of Boost from Kaiser was not the same Boost that I had had in Mexico, I was ready to take the plunge (just not the Nestle plunge again). So far, I am a fan of Boost. No heavy post-feeding feeling like with the Nutren. And the price is most definitely right although I do have to report a marked uptick in the quantity of my burps and the associated smell that accompanies each one as it wafts towards an unsuspecting passers-by's nasal cavity.

Try putting that in your flask.

About the Author

Jason Picetti

Jason Picetti lived life with ALS by six simple words: Speech and movement compromised, spirit unaffected. He died on October 2011.

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