Hospitals, the sewers of health

Hospitals, a place of health? I don’t think so; they’re more like the sewers of health!

It had been years since I had had to stay overnight in a hospital prior to Little Ring’s birth day, and I don’t know if I’d forgotten what it was like, or just didn’t care back in the day, but I tell you, I haven’t felt quite so unhealthy as I did there in a long, long time. A three-day stay and my diabetes was on the most rickety roller coaster around.

The reason: The food.

The first nurse I saw was set on putting me on the diabetes meal plan. I knew this was a bad idea. I had learned years ago, on my first plane ride, never to opt for the diabetes-specialty meal over a “regular” person’s meal, because while everyone else was eating hearty sandwiches and Kit Kat bars, I was stuck grazing on carrots. That day, I swore never again. But this nurse, she was relentless, and was not taking my no for an answer. You’re a diabetic, you belong on the diabetes meal plan. And while I could have continued fighting, I figured I had bigger things to focus on (I was having a baby after all!) and so, I let it slide.


In total, I had five meals plus snacks delivered. The first meal, dinner, I didn’t open as I was in the throes of labour when it arrived, but by the pitiful look on Big Ring’s face, I knew it wasn’t pretty. The next morning, when breakfast arrived, my belly was growling up a storm, I was ravenous and was ready to sink my teeth into a hearty carb and protein rich meal. But when I opened the container and was presented with two slices of the thinnest pieces of brown toast I’d ever seen and two cups of 2% milk, plus a slab of butter, holy crap, I was flabbergasted.

Are you freaking kidding me, this is what I get after that marathon?

Let’s take a moment here to dissect that sorry state of a meal: First of all, unless it’s chocolate milk, or milk that’s been saturated in Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, I won’t touch it. I hate milk, always have, so that was not an option. The toast, it was thin, cold, completely unappealing. There was no protein (again, the milk doesn’t count), no cheese, no peanut butter, no egg, no yogurt. So what’s that? One food group!!!

And when I looked at the menu to see if the carb counts for the toast had been supplied, all that was listed was my name, the type of diabetes I had (which, by the way, they got wrong!) and the total calorie count of the meal – no breakdown of carbs whatsoever. Hmm… when diabetics rely on carb counting, that’s not exactly the best breakdown. Sure, I could have guesstimated, but I like perfection, and by golly, a hospital should like it too.

Rather than guess the carbs on these pitiful meals, and feel starved and miserable for my entire stay, I opted to send Big Ring out for more filling feasts, and while they weren’t my preferred breakfast/lunch/dinner, and while they also forced me to guess the carb/insulin ratios, which had my blood sugars soaring and plummeting all day and all night, at least I wasn’t feeling food deprived.

Maybe hospitals should take a cue from running and cycling races!

Lesson learned: If you want to stay healthy, stay out of hospitals!

3 thoughts on “Hospitals, the sewers of health”

  1. I get it… we know they want to help us, but sometimes, what’s happening just doesn’t make sense. It is a marathon, as you described. So maybe they should just have a spread like that in the recovery room after.

  2. Giving straight up toast to someone with diabetes, gestational or not (obviously not in your case!) just doesn’t make any sense. Obviously the people who meal plan for people with diabetes in a hospital don’t know what they’re doing. Protein, protein, protein… and some carbs (maybe some fruit?). Ugh, sorry you had to deal with that!

  3. That sounds kind of par for the course in a hospital — I’ve been there and gotten that (well, not the baby part, but the rest rings true!)

    Not just in hospitals – but anywhere – insist on the “regular” meal. I learned this when I was 15 and my parents requested the “diabetic meal” on an airplane (20-some years ago, back when airlines included meals). I was served a gigantic fruit-salad big enough to serve four, and that’s it. “No sugar added” must have been their only criteria. Fortunately, my cousin was willing to trade and give me whatever it was they gave him.

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