Hint of basil, touch of sage, fresh ingredients? No not really. Before we get stuck in with what they delivered to me, lets explore what delicacies offered to me on the IFD[foot]Intestinal Failure Diet[/foot] menu:
- Fish Fingers
- Chicken Nuggets
- Shepard’s Pie
- Sweet & Sour Chicken
- Chicken Curry
- Butternut Squash Curry
- Fish in Cheese Sauce
- Chicken with Cheese Sauce
- Chipped Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Jacket Potatoes
- Sandwiches/Jacket Potatoes Fillings
- Ham (Sliced)
- Chicken (Sliced)
- Egg Mayonnaise
- Tinned Fruit
- Jelly & Ice Cream
Exciting Stuff no? Admit-idly the menu was conceived with co-operation from a mix of dietitians and the huge global corporation Medirest who provide all the food served at Southampton General Hospital (From the patients’ food, to every burger flipped at the Burger King Franchise on site – Yes Burger King).
The idea behind the menu is to give the patient lots of choice every day so they don’t rely on 3 meals to pick from (different everyday) as is the set up in other hospitals. Great idea, but in practice, with two meals a day to pick from this menu it probably won’t take long for me to get bored with this.
Over the next 3 weeks I’ll be re living my time in hospital – or at least the food I had in hospital – sharing some delights and revelations. I began Monday so today is day 3, when I got served the Dog Food Pie I showed you in my first post.
So check back tomorrow to see how quickly I get fed up of this menu. For now enjoy the sweet tenderness of a Slab of Spaghetti[foot] It was a ‘Slab’ because it was so dry it moved as one big entity, a bit like a spaghetti Pie. I’m seeing a recurring Pie theme already…[/foot] and a Luke Warm omelette. Now I like Salad cream; in fact more than once I’ve heard that joke ‘Want some Food with your Salad Cream’ but with this meal. No. I’d rather just have the salad cream; Its nicer on its own.
Note the Just in case Sandwich ordered on the side? Its Ham and Cheese. Well Ham with a Pot of Cheese…
Food. Sustenance. Energy. Probably the most important elements driving any potential recovery you can make. So being fed something you can eat that fits the strict diet set by the powers that be; Hospital should be the one place the gets this spot on, right?
Wrong – Hospital food is and always has been notouriously awful. Countless commitees, celebrity chefs and goverenment ministers have tried to implement measures to fix it. To No Avail. At this point I present you with Exhibit A:
Its supposed to be a Shepards Pie, but the essentially ‘jellied’ like meat reminds me more of what a Dog Food Pie would look like. This is by no means the worst thing i’ve been served whilst trying to recover in hospital; But this is the meal that took my anger levels to a point enough of wanting to something about it. Having complained before and seeing little improvement, rather than relying on the Kitchen team to take pictures and share it with the Hospital heads of catering – I decided to take a picture of every meal I was served.
To be fair this picture doesn’t do the meal justice. It was also cold, the mash potatoes were soggy, and see those massive clumps of red? Those are barely cooked tomatoes. I can assure you, for someone on a Intestinal Failure Menu, from which this was ordered from, big – high residue – acidic – cheap tomatoes are not only un-enjoyable at the point of eating. But for hours and hours after.
I was in Hospital for a mere 3 weeks. And over the next 3 weeks I’ll be sharing more and more of the delicacies delivered to my hospital bedside, what protests I made and whether I ever did, get them to Feed Me Something Decent!
Follow the updates on Twitter & Instagram (Both are @DoctorFeedMe) and submit your own Hospital food stories and pictures here
In and out of Hospital for nearly 3 years and had some pretty serious surgery over the time. Born with a 1 in a million anomaly that allowed my bowel to twist leading to much of it being taken away and a few days being lost to operations and general anesthetics.
With 7 major operations, somewhere under 30 minor ops, and enough radiation from scans to cook a ready meal (or two) under my belt before the age of 21, its been a bit rough. The worst bit? Not eating for a year and a half! I relied on intravenous[foot]Intravenous therapy or IV therapy is the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. The word intravenous simply means “within a vein“. – Wikipedia[/foot] parenteral nutrition [foot] Parenteral nutrition (PN) is feeding a person intravenously, bypassing the usual process of eating and digestion. The person receives nutritional formulae that contain nutrients such as glucose, amino acids, lipids and added vitamins and dietary minerals. It is called total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or total nutrient admixture (TNA) when no significant nutrition is obtained by other routes – Wikipedia [/foot] for the best part of a year and a half and was not able to absorb food or drink. During that time the only way to get in touch with food, was to cook: I did this for my family every meal time, that I had the energy to do so, so that when I could eat again I could eat well.
As I’m sure you’re already aware, Hospital food is more Michelin wheels than stars in style, and that’s Michelin wheels that have a massive puncture. Now its not all bad – the first meal I had, Chicken with white rice and white sauce tasted just fine. But, anything is going to taste good after nothing for a year and a half. The problems I’ll refer to in this blog centre largely around my most recent hospital stay at Southampton General University Hospital – A hospital I was sent to (away from my home town) for its specialist Nutrition team and capabilities. And let us be clear, the Doctors and my team looking after me have been Fab! Its the food I have the BEEF with – If you’ll pardon the pun.
My most recent stay I was on the Intestinal Failure Diet, created especially for people like me, whose intestines have failed. And for the record, not just a little bit, you could say #EpicFails to coin a twitter term. Hopefully this blog will encourage the ongoing, but largely under the radar, discourse on how poor hospital food is to come into the LIME light. If you have experiences similar or at the completely the other end of the spectrum, why not share them? – Submit pictures and articles of your experiences anytime below. We’re not just looking for food at Southampton either, anywhere in the NHS is appropriate – Southampton is not the only place with problems with their meals.
Submit your experiences to be published on the blog: