Sunday, July 7, 2013

Back With a Vengeance

O Rice Krispies, where art thou?

Truthfully, I don't have any particular vengeance [it just sounded like a good thing to say], other than one any patient with functioning taste buds would have against the hospital food production staff.  Do they send the people who work in hospital kitchens to the equivalent of anti-culinary school in order to teach them how to prepare food that is tasteless in a best -case scenario, and overwhelmingly unpalatable (I was searching for a word my mom wouldn't edit out when she reads this later today; lately she's had a great deal of  time on her hands and uses entirely too much of it to read my blog) in one of the more typical meals they send out?

In the past, I've been expected to make do with hospital breakfasts, which I've done uncomplainingly, relying heavily on boxed cold cereal, but lunches and dinners have been brought in from outside sources. My parents decided I'm getting too old for such special treatment.  Mom, Dad, if you want me to eat lunch and dinner, you have two options: 1) teach someone in the hospital kitchen how to cook; 2) bring me something from home or from a local sandwich or fast-food place. I can't be kept here against my will any longer, as I've reached that magical age of eighteen at which I may sign myself out against medical advice. I'm not suicidal, so I won't escape until I know I can walk at least from a sofa to a bathroom and back, but once I've reached that milestone, I'm out of here if it's the only way I can get a decent meal.

Seriously, Jared's little brother Bryson will turn four later this week. I'm confident that, while having someone on standby to ensure that he did not burn himself or set the kitchen on fire, I could direct him step-by-step  from my family room couch on how to prepare a scrambled egg that would be at least three times better than the glop that showed up on my tray this morning. (The little boxes of cereal on which I formerly subsisted have diasppeared from stock, probably because they were in such heavy demand here that the vendor who provided them decided it wasn't fair for a single hospital to be allotted every single package that Kelloggs or Post produced.) And Bryson, while he's a bright boy, is neither the next Einstein nor an up-and-coming Bobby Flay. To the best of my knowledge , he's never cooked anything in his entire almost-four-year-long life.  I use Bryson as  illustration not to extoll his cooking skills but rather to elucidate just how lacking are the culinary skills of the people who work in the food department at this hospital.

I can only imagine the interview process for getting a job in the kitchen here:

Question: "Have you ever cooked anything before in your entire life that anyone has been able to eat?"
Answer: Either "No" or a wordless and dull stare into empty space.
Conclusion: "You meet our standards of qualification perfectly! If you knew how to cook, you'd make the rest of our staff look bad by comparison. You're hired on the spot pending successful passage of a TB skin test!"

My Uncle Michael is here with me tonight. As one of the more reasonable members of the family, he says he'll taste my breakfast this morning, and if it's really as putrid as what I've described, he'll personally see that the rest of my meals are brought in from outside sources. It's nice that someone listens to me.

I've been too out-of-it to be bored up to this point, but my surgeon is gradually cutting down on my supply of dilaudid and demerol and whatever benzo they've been giving me through my IV tube, so I'm in just enough pain to be uncomfortable, and I'm just lucid enough to be bored. The hospital has cut costs by reducing the level of cable service available to patients since my last stay here. My guess is that the TVs in the CEO's and Chief of Staff's  offices still have availability to all the premium channels, but the peons are limited to the Weather Channel and stations that show infomercials at this hour.  My Uncle Michael is trying to be accommodating. He's offered to play cards or Scrabble or whatever I want. I wanted to make crank phone calls, but he said no to that. I did play one game of Scrabble with him, but I wish he'd just go to sleep. He has to work tomorrow. I'll be OK with just my computer, which he graciously brought to me unbeknownst to my father or my Uncle Steve, both of whom think I'm not sufficiently recuperated to strike a few keys with my fingers even though the incision is in my abdomen, which is not very cloesely linked to my fingers.

My surgeon apparently did an amazing job of separating the internal scar left from my appendectomy from my right Fallopian (I don't know if that's supposed to be capitalized or not; it's one of the things I need to learn before medical school) tube. My ability to conceive is allegedly as promising as it ever was. (With my medical history, neither fertility nor much of anything else is a given.) I'm supposed to be grateful. I am, actually, but I can't show it too conspicuously because he's Jared's father and he hasn't been the best friend in the world to me in a personal sense. I'm still lucky to have had as skilled a surgeon as he, and would have chosen him myself had I been in any condition to make such a choice at the time even if he has interfered in my personal life in a not terribly positive way on more than one occasion. (As much as he would probably like to have me out of his son's life permanently, he's too professional and too moral to have experienced a convenient slip of the knife.) I will thank him personally and will possibly send him a token gift as well. Maybe I'll give him a gift certificate to the hospital cafeteria -- the one available to the patients. I suspect the food they sell to the staff can't possibly be as atrocious as what they're feeding us or no one with any options at all would choose to work here.

The nurse has shown up with more drugs. They have to wean addicts such as myself off the good stuff gradually, just as they do at "The Betty," so we don't have tonic-clonic (formerly known as grand mal and probably changed to  the more esoteric term tonic-clonic so that med school textbook publishers can justify discontinuing the publication of old textbooks and printing new editions that cost 20% more) seizures or other nasty symptoms of withdrawal. After thoroughly inspecting the vials containing the drugs, Uncle Michael has allowed them to be inserted into my IV line. I'm already feeling a bit stoned, and Uncle Michael says my computer is going night-night in three mniutes, but I'm not thoroughly convinced my mental faculties will extend for even that short interval.

This post has probably come across as astoundingly negative.  Uncle Michael assures me that such is normal for me at this phase of my recuperation and that I will wake up in the morning with my normally sunny outlook on life. He doesn't know me quite as well as some of my relatives do. Nevertheless, my discomfort is a temporary situation, and it will improve at least to some degree, if not by tomorrow, then by the next day, it seems safe to assume.

Thank you for being my friends.



  1. I don't think your post was "astonishingly negative". It's your situation at the moment, and your opinion is a popular one.

    It's good to hear from you.

  2. I don't blame you for being negative about hospital food. You'd never know it to look at me, but I am similarly picky about food. At least you have good drugs though, right?

    Get well soon!