Hospital Food

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by Amy Flanigan on August 17, 2009 · 31 comments

What’s worse than seeing your young child hooked up to medical machines and an I.V.? Hmm. Nothing. Well, other than the unthinkable, of course.

The Reader’s Digest version is that Haley developed a fever on Saturday, August 8th (bad), followed by vomiting (which is actually good.) But then it escalated into vomiting and diarrhea for five days (bad again), which resulted in a few trips to the clinic. A 104.2 (!) fever on day six landed us in the hospital for two nights.

I will spare you the gory details and just say there was poking, bright lights, scary equipment, needles, and a lot of screaming and crying. HORRIFIC for a 3YO and her mother.

If I believed in Hell, I would say I was there.

Having said that, it’s also fair to give credit where credit is due. All the nurses and doctors (with the exception of one incompetent/no bed side manner/in the wrong profession nurse-technician), were outstanding; warm, comforting, and most importantly, patient with all my questions, and understanding of my frustration and four letter words.

After blood being drawn a few times, more tests, two nights of scratchy sheets, watching Mulan five times, and a diagnosis (or more like a guess, if you ask me) of viral Gastrointestinitis, we were released. They say the virus is common and will just work its way out of the body eventually.

Eventually? WTF? I mean, who ever heard of nine days (and counting) with a fever…from a stomach bug? Not that I want it to be more serious, of course. Okay, Amy. Breath, breath.

Now we’re waiting for the last of the lab results to come in, ruling out anything more severe. At least Haley’s hydrated and in better spirits.

So, while I’m waiting…I can tell you about the other part of our hospital visit: the food and everything I took from her room.

The menu was filled with three pages of choices. Build your own sandwich, build your own salad, eggs any way you’d like, anything off the grill, etc. The selection even included items like “Seared Cod with Mango Salsa” and “Caribbean Jerk Chicken Fajitas.” I was impressed. I took a stab at their Grilled Veggie Burger and it was so good, I had it again the next day. I also ordered the Tater Tots, which I haven’t had in about 15 years. They were just as gross and yummy as I recalled.

I let go of my nutritious eating convictions as far as Haley was concerned. You want French fries for lunch? Sure. How about dessert for breakfast? No problem. But in typical Haley form, she hated the Mac-N-Cheese, scraped the chocolate off the chocolate cake, and turned her nose up at the Jello and tapioca pudding. Instead, she ate grapes, strawberries, and a whole wheat English muffin for two days/nights. She’s not normal. Oh, Haley, Haley, Haley. (Then, of course, there’s 16-month old Trevor, who came to visit with Daddy each day. He immediately went for all the uneaten portions of food sitting on the trays, slightly out of his reach, but not quite. It’s like he has a food antennae. Oh, Trevor, Trevor, Trevor.) Anyway, I can’t say I came home malnourished.

This awesome sign greeted us upon returning home. (You must cut Paul some slack for the misspelling. He was sleep deprived. Or maybe he was medicated, in an effort to get through this ordeal.)

There were also amusing presents for us to open (because Paul can’t resist an excuse to spend money at Patina, our all-time favorite politically incorrect gift shop.)

After the gift opening, I unpacked our bags. And what do you know? Some items just happened to make there way inside. (Okay, don’t judge. It’s not like we didn’t pay for these things, anyway. As if they’re not going to be reflected in that outrageous bill being generated.)

A box of Cherrios. Because I like things packaged in travel-size containers. $10.

There’s surgical tape. Because that’s more fun than Scotch tape. $35.

A set of four fruit cups. Because I can never have enough prep bowls. $100.

This very cool ball that will hold Trevor’s attention for a valuable 15 minutes, when needed. $700.

And all the supplies a doctor-in-training would need to practice with. $250.

…which put a smile on Haley’s face. Priceless.

P.S. For the record, I have instructed my friends to put me in check the next time I complain about Haley having a silly cold.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

food-4tots August 22, 2009 at 11:51 am

This reminds me of my son when he was admitted to hospital 3 years ago. Glad to know that Haley is better now.

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Tammy August 20, 2009 at 7:56 pm

So glad Haley’s feeling better. What a scare. So glad it’s over.

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Natasha - 5 Star Foodie August 19, 2009 at 10:20 am

That must have been so scary! I’m glad that your little girl is now ok and home. My daughter was a preemie so we had to spend three months in a hospital after she was born and I never ever want to to go back to the hospital. It’s heartbreaking to see your child hooked up to IVs and medical machines.

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Marion August 19, 2009 at 10:07 am

Oh, man. We are with you every step of the way here. Terrifying. Nothing is worse than seeing your child sick. But sick like that, well, I admire your humor and grace here, as well as your reminder to us all to keep ours on the ready at all times.

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Lora August 18, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Amy Amy Amy,
After everything you’ve been going through lately, you still manage to keep your wits! (And quite witty wits, might I add.) I’m amazed. Very scary stuff. Hoping all the bad stuff is behind you and the good stuff will be doubled and on its way soon. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. You’ve got a tough cookie in Haley, must take after Mom.

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nina August 18, 2009 at 10:50 pm

What an endearing post to read!!! OMG, sick children are the pits…..I hate it!!! I am such a softy mom, can’t stand them being sick!!!

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jive turkey August 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

SO glad she’s better. I am dreading the first time my little squirt gets sick. And if I ever have to see her in the hospital? GOOD LORD. I want to pass out just thinking about it.

Uh, and YEAH, good on you for taking stuff from the hospital, for reals. My husband went to the emergency room (with something that was also probably gastrointestinitis) for a grand total of two hours last month, and the bill (before insurance) was SEVEN THOUSAND EFFING DOLLARS. And he didn’t even get to steal any Cheerios. Boo.

When I left the hospital after having Sadie, though, those nurses made sure I took EVERYTHING that wasn’t nailed down. Awesome.

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Tara August 18, 2009 at 9:40 am

Sick kids are one of the hardest parts of parenting. We’ll go to our graves worrying, right?

Ah, but your misery is our gain. You are so funny.

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Mike August 18, 2009 at 7:18 am

Sorry Haley was ill and I hope she’s back to normal quickly. Glad to hear hospital food has improved though.

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Karen August 18, 2009 at 9:12 am

Scary scary scary. I swear I have so many more gray hairs since having kids.

I love that you can still be funny, while experiencing a frightening/stressful situation. You make me laugh out loud!

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Nicole August 18, 2009 at 8:57 am

Wow!!! This is the only way I find out anything that is going on in your life. I am sure you are hoping for a few uneventful months in your future.

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Amy F. August 18, 2009 at 8:17 am

I am very sorry that Haley was so sick. It ages you, doesn’t it? There is nothing that could have prepared me for going through my kids being sick. I hope she is doing much better now.

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Natashya August 18, 2009 at 8:04 am

I went through something very similar when my son was about the same age, very scary.
So glad it is over for you!
Good score on the goodies. ;-)

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Joanne August 18, 2009 at 7:50 am

Oh my, it sounds like you had quite an ordeal! I am so glad Haley is feeling better. It is so scary when kids are sick. Viruses are the worst because there really is nothing you can do except wait it out.

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Nancy August 18, 2009 at 7:28 am

Oh man. We know this one. All of our kids have had GI. Ugly virus and the constant sweating from the fevers is what dehydrates them so badly. The key is small sips of water every 15-30 minutes. Anyway, I know that’s not comforting when you’re going through it. I’m sure (or I hope!) the remaining test results didn’t show anything worse.

Hang in there, Amy. You sure have a lot on your plate. I think you’re amazing to keep your sense of humor when under so much anxiety!!

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Helen August 18, 2009 at 7:03 am

We’re no strangers to hospitals with the kids. Broken bones, stitches, and yes stomach flu. It’s absolutely horrible to see your kids really sick and worse, stuck with needles by strange people. But somehow they get through it. They’re tough – way tougher than adults! Sounds like Haley is better and will be her usual 3-year-old self in no time. Just remember how worried you were when she starts driving you crazy again.

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daphne August 18, 2009 at 4:20 am

Oh amy, so sorry to hear that Haley has been in hospital! what an ordeal- but glad she is feeling better. Sounds like things are back on track. Hope you are keeping well! and i almost couldnt believe that hospitals give u choices for sandwiches? oh man…

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marie August 18, 2009 at 12:43 am

hi amy

wow, i am so glad that Haley is better, i can empathize, Marina was hospitalized twice last year for dehydration from vomiting from a stomach bug and since then every time she even looks like she is going to throw up i get nervous – the good news is that she has gotten the stomach bug twice this year, with vomiting, but we have managed to keep her hydrated and out of the hospital,

hugs to you all

marie and marina

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Jessica August 17, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Oh how awful! Sending special songs and thoughts your way. I’d bring over a cake or something, but it sounds like you are eating just fine…

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Jennifer August 17, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Hugs to everyone, especially Haley. Mom and Dad and Paul have been keeping me posted. Come home! We’ll do whatever we need to get you back here!

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Jan August 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm

awwwwww…nothing worse than child in hospital….

So sorry to have heard about it….it takes its toll on parents….but most definitely on grandparents…’specially with not being able to be closer…

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Cheryl August 17, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Well, this is not what I wanted to read! Shit. Unemployment, kid in the hospital…how are you holding it together? And still making me laugh. Next time I have a crisis, I want you to move in with us. Get better!!!!

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Jude August 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm

The GI virus is infuriating and frightening when it happens to an adult, how scary for a little kid – and her parents. Thank goodness Haley’s on the mend! if there’s a silver lining, it’s that you had the opportunity, Amy, to critique hospital food for your eager readers. Who’d a thunk it? xxoo to Haley.

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Lisa August 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Holy mother of…!!! Awful, awful, awful. But she’s better? At least you’re all at home, in the comfort of your own things. Although it sounds like the food made your hospital stay a little better.

To echo what Nana said – Amy, you’re funny even in the worst situations! I don’t know how you do it.

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Randy aka your uncle August 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I got the bad news on my birthday. This was not what I wanted to hear!! Also got your card, thanks for remembering. Soooo glad to hear Haley is back home and feeling at least a little bit better. Love the picture. I told your mom, I got Chuy’s stool results in one day, and yes–WTF. I guess it sometimes doesn’t pay to be a human. Remember, spelling is hard unless you have spell check. XOXOXO to all

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Paul August 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Trevor got to the hospital leftovers before I did. Darn.

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Steph August 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Oh no! WTF indeed. Haley’s so cute…looks like she at least got the color back in her face, no? Is anyone else sick? SO hard be a parent. Ugh. GET WELL, HALEY.

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Melissa August 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Aw. Haley’s a great eater… so how does she end up sick and not Trevor? *Mystery* ;)

I’m so sorry for your ordeal, momma. I’m really, really glad she’s home and feeling better. Hopefully it will be 100% cleared up very soon. *Big hug*

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Nana August 17, 2009 at 11:58 am

Amy, you are entertaining even under stress. Hopefully, this “bug” will work its way out of Haley’s system sooner rather than later and you all can get back to normal….whatever that is!

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Papa August 17, 2009 at 11:47 am

I’m glad you’re both home, though I wish they’d find out what year this will work through her system. Meanwhile, happy to hear that you’ve found a new place to eat out, but I do wonder if the hospital won’t miss the set of fruit cups. I thought I brought you up better than to waste valuable luggage space with Cheerios. There’s always Kleenex, ya know.

Haley looks great even though she feels lousy. And Paul now has something to do with at least one hand. Trevor? Can’t wait to see the little butterball. I see he’s trying to raise his MN percentiles by eating whatever he can lay his hands on.

P.S. Paul spelled Mommy the way Haley would, so no slack needed.

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Cathy August 17, 2009 at 11:03 am

This Haley-feeling-better picture makes me SO happy. Best blog ever!

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