Over the past two weeks, I had to spend two stints of time in a hospital setting, attending to someone else. The first was a very happy event indeed—the arrival of my first grandchild over a Friday and Saturday two weeks ago. (Yay! A girl!) The second was a dramatic ruptured appendix on the part of my beloved that landed him (and me) in the hospital for four days.
Long days. Of course, the ER always takes a million years for anything unless you’re flat out bleeding to death, and even then you might have to prove it. Even though we arrived in the middle of a weekday, it was well into the evening before it was decided that yes, he needed surgery. Urgently. They wheeled him in and told me to go wait in the surgical waiting room. I was the only person there. The only person on the floor, I think. Creepy at night.
But by then, it had been eight or ten stressful hours since I’d eaten, not counting the package of Cheese Nips and a soda (water was sold out) I wrestled out of a vending machine. First, I had to scrounge up all the change from the floor of the car and my purse and our combined coat pockets because the card reader AND the dollar bill reader was broken. That was the best I could do for two dollars.
So by the time CR went to surgery**, I was HUNGRY. I went searching for a cafeteria, which I found. Closed. A young girl pointed me toward a bank of vending machines, where I sadly settled for a couple of granola bars and a bottled Frappacino. (At least it had milk in it!)
It was like that at Fort Carson, too. A bank of vending machines with mostly high fat, high salt processed food. They at least had some sandwiches, but you know, I’m not all that comfortable eating egg salad from a vending machine. Just picky like that. I’m sure the cafeteria is open and humming weekdays, but we were there for a baby. They don’t necessarily arrive during weekday hours. Ditto the ER: people are having emergencies there. They might need sustenance.
I was at those two different hospitals for a total of six days, and had exactly two hot meals in all that time. Isn’t that kind of…bizarre?
Here’s my wish list: bottles of milk and juice in the vending machines. Maybe some little cups of yogurt and hummus and peanut butter, and ordinary crackers that aren’t 12 zillion grams of sodium per serving. String cheese and cheese wedges, and hey—what about tins of soup with a nearby microwave?
Have you been marooned and starving in a hospital with a sick friend or husband? What would you do to improve the experience? Do you have a wish list of food options?
**Christopher Robin is FINE. He’s now a not-quite sick enough male who is bored to tears. ’Nuff said.