This post is a bit different to my previous reviews. I usually get to choose where I eat, and I’m not usually dosed up on painkillers with four tiny incisions in my belly! On Tuesday, I had my gall bladder removed at Calvary John James Hospital in Deakin. I stayed overnight and had the misfortune of eating dinner and breakfast there.
Hospitals are known for having awful food. Last year I spent three days in Calvary Hospital in Bruce following the birth of my baby. During this time, I was given two meals that contained gluten which I was lucky I did not eat. I remember the food being average and subsidising it with snacks and treats bought in by my husband which saw me through until I was discharged.
Following my experiences at Calvary in Bruce, my expectations of Calvary John James were low and they were met. You’d think that hospitals would make an effort to provide nutritious, healthy food to patients, food that would help them to heal, recover, and recuperate. But they don’t. Private or public, hospital food is truly miserable stuff.
After fasting from 7am, I was starving by the time dinner arrived around 7.30pm on the day of the operation – much later than the 5-6pm that they stated on the menu. I had requested the gluten free options from the dinner menu – pea and ham soup, sweet and sour pork with rice, seasonal vegetables, fresh fruit for dessert and orange juice.
The pea and ham soup was brown, lukewarm and tasted like salt. The sweet and sour pork was strangely comforting although I doubt it had any nutritional value. It tasted like it came out of a jar and was bright orange. I had a couple of mouthfuls of meat which turned out to be just fat which was pretty gross and the sauce was typical westernised sweet and sour sauce. On the plus, it did have some veggies in it – capsicum, spring onions and pineapple. The seasonal vegetables were green beans, cauliflower and something orange which was tasteless and could have been carrot or sweet potato – I genuinely have no idea what it was. The veggies were overcooked and slightly grey. The fresh fruit was half a mandarin. It was depressing.
For breakfast the next day, I was trying to be optimistic. It had been a long, uncomfortable night with little sleep and tremendous pain. I was looking forward to the comfort of gluten free cornflakes and feeling normal. In addition to the cornflakes, I had requested gluten free toast with butter, fresh fruit, and orange juice. I also asked for a decaf coffee.
When breakfast arrived at 8.30am (again later than the 7am on the menu), the cornflakes were not there. There was a note which was supposed to be filled in to explain where the missing item was but it hadn’t been completed. The rest of the breakfast didn’t get much better. The toast was cold and really chewy. And there was an apple. This was topped off with coffee which was lukewarm and without sugar. It was a soulless breakfast for someone who had spent the night in significant pain and it did nothing to lift my mood.
Being in hospital sucks, you’re away from family, stressed over your health and probably in pain. I didn’t expect Michelin starred food but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want food that not only helps your body recuperate but also lifts your spirits. Particularly at a private hospital that costs a small fortune. I don’t know why the food is so bad at hospitals but it’s pretty inexcusable to give sick people food so bad they can’t eat it.
So basically, what I’m saying is don’t get sick. It sucks, particularly the food!
PS. The op went well and I should be out and about, eating and reviewing in a couple of weeks’ time! GBMG’s first product review will be going up in the meantime.