Imagine you wake up one morning with your stomach growling and your brain screaming for food. But the only thing you can find to fill your belly is milk. Certainly not the most interesting option, but enough to quell your hunger for a couple of hours. So you pour yourself a big glass, and take a small sip, only to choke. Because, you see, the roof of your mouth is no longer there. For some reason, this piece of flesh that separates mouth from nasal cavity is open all the way from your lip to the back of your mouth, and it makes eating mighty challenging. After a time, you find a way to bring a small bit of milk into your mouth, and move your tongue around it in a kind of modified swallow. Which actually ends up being about three or four swallows, as each on pushes some of that milk into your nasal passages, until that little mouthful of milk finally, incrementally makes its way down into your stomach.
So you keep working away, adjusting to this alarming sensation of constantly having milk up your nose while trying to find little gaps in the action to take a quick breath. Suck, swallow, breathe, and so on. Forgetting one of these essential elements brings some even more alarming sensations, of course.
And then you realize– to your alarm and consternation—that this whole process is utterly exhausting, since your blood is only carrying about half of the oxygen it once did. It’s like you’re up in the Himalayas at 25,000 feet, carrying a huge pack while trying to drink this milk and keep up with a speed-walking team of Sherpas. The guy in front of you is carrying a battery-powered TV playing old Iron Maiden videos, and the guy behind you is ringing a huge bell. After about 20 minutes, you need to lay down and get some sleep. Until you wake up again, hungry.