In Neil's pre-accident life eating was a social thing. He could down a lot of hamburgers if he were with friends and he thought it would make them laugh. At home it was a different story. He often forgot to eat and had to be reminded. Even then, he'd only eat if I made him something. Laziness was more important than nutrition.
It's funny what can change with damage to different parts of the brain. Food has become important to Neil almost to the point of obsession. One of the first things he asks every morning is, "What's for dinner tonight?" He doesn't mind eating the same current favorite at every meal--in fact, he prefers it. He loves to get in on planning the week's menu with his dad and never hesitates to come shopping at the grocery store. Along with the planning and the eating, he wants to be involved in the preparations.
After spending weeks researching which computer component he wanted for his birthday, someone suggested a George Foreman grill and it suddenly became obvious. Now he loves to cook for friends, family, and of course, himself. Though he still needs some supervision, it won't be long 'til he's grilling on his own. Fortunately for Neil, he's got the metabolism that can handle his new penchant for eating. He burns a lot of calories in his physical therapy.
A couple of weeks ago Neil came into my room at 3:45 in the morning. He had heard me coughing so assumed that meant I was awake. Apparently he'd been awake himself for a few hours just waiting to share an idea that had come to him in the middle of the night: Tons of Tacos--a food stand that would sell delicious tacos for a dollar a piece. Who could resist? Neil's got a dream now and I dare anyone to stand in his way. Chipotle--look out!