Hospital Food

I have been in hospital three times – 30 years ago, 12 years ago and 2 days ago.

Thirty years ago the menu system served to me was the meal that had been ordered by the previous occupant of my bed. That, at least, was the theory, but subsequent experience suggested it might be less logical than that.

The conversation tended to centre on “operations I have had”, whichย didn’t really improve the atmosphere around the dining table.

The random nature of the menu arrangement became clear when, after three days, I left without once getting the meal I’d ordered. What I did get was mainly boil-in-the-bag scrambled egg, consisting of a square yellow block surrounded by water. With the addition of random veg and bits of fish and meat…

I will leave this painful episode with a quote from one of the convalescents, who actually seemed to like the stuff: “You don’t get food like this at home, do you?”

I had to confess that I didn’t get food like that at home.

Spool forward 18 years and once again I’m in the grip of the NHS. They have had my trousers down, tested my prostate and declared an intention to insert a camera into my bladder via a passageway quite clearly not designed for the purpose.

They had to take me in again after getting it wrong the first time – I’ve run them into one as they were only a few months apart. On each occasion they cancelled first time due to lack of beds.

The first meal was cold because we were at the far end of the ward. The only choice was fish and chips (bread-crumbed fish garden peas) ย because everything else had run out. There were five of us but only four fish, so they chopped the tail sections off and served them up to the fifth man.

They didn’t actually run out of food again in the next few days but we never had the full menu available or hot food. I did suggest it might be nice if they started at our end of the ward sometimes but they just looked at me in a snotty manner and ignored me.

To be fair, the food and system were both better than my previous experience.

Finally we have the latest round of visits – the December swelling and the events of Friday. More trousers, more tests and more cameras.

They have a new trolley, which keeps the food hot, and they seemed to have plenty of food. The choice is better and the standard is higher. The fish was better, it was battered and the peas were mushy, as is proper. It isn’t perfect, it tends to lack vegetables, but they do deliver it to your bed, and I did look forward to mealtimes.

That anticipation may have been due to boredom rather than the dining experience, but it’s definitely an advance on 30 years ago, when I used to dread the menu lottery and developed a fear of scrambled eggs.


27 thoughts on “Hospital Food

    1. quercuscommunity

      It’s all good material, even if it does sting a bit. I have several more tests lined up, including the one where they make you run on a treadmill until it hurts. However, as my knee is so bad it’s likely that this will pack up long before my heart gives a result. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. tootlepedal

    What fun you have. The meals when i was last in hospital in Carlisle allegedly came from Manchester. There must be a reason why they do these things but I can tell what it might be. Maybe you should have your own primus stove.

    Keep smiling if you can. You certainly made me smile today.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Thank you. I believe some midlands food used to be shipped between towns. I believe they are going back to locally sourced food. Of course, a cynic would say you get less food poisoning with this system and despite Crown Immunity food poisoning is bad news.

  2. myfoodhunt

    Simon, this post made me Chuckle a lot as, for some reason, I was recalling that show “Only When I Laugh”, I am not going to spell out which character you particularly remind me of ๐Ÿ™‚

    It also for some strange reason put me in the mood for a bag of Fish and Chips!

  3. Laurie Graves

    That’s great about the improvement in food. I’ve heard the same is true for our local hospital. Best, best, best to you and hope that all went well during your procedure.

      1. Laurie Graves

        A friend of ours had a similar procedure. He’s doing really, really well now that all the uncomfortable parts are over.

  4. The Snail of Happiness

    When my dad was in hospital long-term 37 years ago, we used to take him food every night. In fact the spinal injuries ward that he was on was 2nd home for many of the patients and when they were well enough they used to go out for food – to the chippy or the local pub. In those days wheel chairs were quite basic and they often got in trouble with the police for their wheelchair convoy along the road coming back from the pub not having lights!

    1. quercuscommunity

      Yes, I can see why you’d have to take food in at that time. Good that they all managed to keep their spirits up. I have some similar stories, but can’t repeat them as the man in question reads the blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. flanders1914

    My early given hospital memory, ie a story told about me in a hospital, happened in a British Military Hospital. A couple of days after I was born I started to turn blue. My mum shouted for help. The Hospital padre turned up and gave me the last rites. The first of a couple of times the last rites have ben given to me. He walked away and told the ward sister it was okay as he done everything necessary. Needless to say, I have outlived him.


Leave a Reply