Yes, Dear Readers … I’ve been quiet for a bit here. The truth is, I’ve been having a little unexpected health fun, that–unfortunately–included a hospital stay at the University of Washington Medical Center. By the time they got me settled into a room, I had a great view of campus. Looking out of my window, one of UW’s many parks lay right below my feet, surrounding a UW Huskie Paw Pool. It poured rain the entire time–so, on top of being stuck in the hospital for a few days, outside my window was just gray, gray, gray!–but at least the pool and park were interesting to look at, especially when the boredom set in.
So things were a little crazy for your Fearless Blogger there a while, and–not surprising–my food situation was even crazier. My only meal on Friday was interrupted before I could take my third bite by a phone call to 911, seven firemen and/or EMT techs, two fire trucks, two Aid Cars–what they call ambulances in Eastern Washington State … and it was obviously a slow day here if little ole me got that much attention–and then a trip to the ER, where I stayed for the first 24 hours of my medical extravaganza. They brought me a tray of food after about 12 hours–macaroni and cheese, green beans–still woody and barely warmed through–fruit, fruit juice, and milk–but that wasn’t much more than empty carbs, empty carbs, empty carbs, and empty carbs to someone like me (don’t you just love hospital dietitians?) so I wouldn’t eat 90% of it.
By the time they got me into a room–and I was finally able to sleep a little, impossible in the ER around all those machines going PING! non-stop–I woke up (nearly 48 hours since the last time I had an actual “meal”) and discovered that UW has a very interesting way to feed their patients ……….
……… room service!!
It was almost 8pm by this point, and I was feeling amazingly empty for more reasons than just all the blood they’d drawn so far. My nurse gave me the high points of how they worked food-wise, then put me on the phone with one of the techs in The Center, their Food & Nutrition Department. I didn’t have a menu to look at yet, so I explained my situation to the nice young man on the other end of the phone. I needed protein desperately by that point … and lots of it … but that I have certain things I can’t eat. He was very helpful, and we quickly put together a protein-rich meal for me, consisting of Beef Tenderloin Tips and onions, black beans, and a cup of coffee!
They delivered it less than 40 minutes later. I dove on it like a ravenous beast. I didn’t even think about taking a picture of it until my husband mentioned it. So … here you go
Can you tell I was hungry?
Can you also tell it was TASTY!?!?! Oh, my! I have NEVER had hospital food that totally edible! The coffee was average (needless to say … I admit it, I’m a coffee snob … and institutional coffee–no matter how many times they use the word gourmet in their name–is always bad) but the food was EXCELLENT! I wouldn’t have been in the least bit surprised to find the same offering on a local restaurant’s menu, and I doubt they could have prepared it much better. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was STARVING either. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked. The onions were caramelized on the edges, but the center of each thin slice was still crunchy and slightly sweet. The black beans were cooked simply and to perfection, and they melded well with the light gravy that oozed over onto them from the beef tips. I used the little packet of Mrs. Dash they included on the tray on both parts of my meal–just to add that little bit of difference in some bites–and I honestly enjoyed every single bit of it … as you can tell from my empty plate!
That meal definitely gets an A from me!
My breakfast the next morning was pretty good, too. No pictures, though. Sorry! I ordered scrambled eggs, bacon, a bran muffin with cream cheese, and two cups of coffee … but then they brought half the graduating class of UW Medical School through my room the next morning–right as they brought my breakfast–so by the time I finally got to eat it … it was almost cold … and I had to eat it fast! That meal was more like a B, since–despite the bacon being fatty but decent, and the muffin being pretty nice–you just can’t hide institutional scrambled eggs … no matter how many tiny tomato and pepper hunks you try to dress them up with.
Thankfully, that was my last meal there … not because I wasn’t interested in trying more of their lunch and dinner offerings (they had everything from hot or cold sandwiches, salads–in both side and dinner sizes–meals like Thai Basin Stir Fry, Lemongrass Pork Steak, salmon, meatloaf, and a lot more … with desserts like Chocolate Torte with Berry Coulis or Sugarfree Cheesecake) but because I wanted to go HOME with my cute husband and puppies … so that I could sleep in our pack bed again, rather than all by myself up in the hospital. As I’m sure more of you know by now–if not through personal experience, then through watching someone else go through it–there’s no place better to rest and recuperate than in your own bed