Saturday, 29 August 2009

Don't do it, Barack!

The liberal world may be clamouring for President Obama to create an NHS for the USA but I'd be a bit more cautious if I were he. In fact, I'd invite Barack to take a look at my lunch tray today to see what state-planned healthcare really means.

I've been a guest of the NHS (the envy of the world) for 14 weeks so far this year. How I managed to survive is a wonder even to me. You see, the NHS is run along strictly Soviet lines. In order to make the Soviet experience even more authentic, my hospital has provided plenty of Eastern European charm. Take our ward manager, for example. I don't know the lady's real name but I call her Rosa... as in Rosa Krebs, that charming lady in the Bond movies with poisoned spikes in her shoes. Marvellous woman. I think she may be Moldovan but I'm not entirely sure. If anyone ever wants an enforcer then Rosa's your girl. She has all the ruthlessness of Stalin coupled with the efficiency of the Wehrmacht and the charm of a great white shark. However, to Rosa's credit, she did manage to retrieve my lunch as it was being wheeled back to the kitchen as I was overlooked yet again!

Oh how I wish Rosa hadn't chased that trolley. On paper, the sound of Southern-style drumsticks was quite appealing. Unfortunately the menu didn't state the origin of southern. In my case it was southern Ethiopia. Never have I seen such scrawny and aged chicken. There was more stick than drum. This was a case of chicken bones coated in a rock hard material that would have been better employed as the surface for Heathrow's third runway. Alongside the Southern-style bones was a heap of murdered cabbage and something described as sautéed potatoes. It is beyond even my fertile imagination to identify what the potatoes had been sautéed in, but my best guess would be a bedpan.

Never mind there's always pudding to look forward to... isn't there? Sadly no. The jam roly poly had indeed been rolled, probably across the kitchen floor by the taste of it. And how anyone could screw up custard quite so badly I can't imagine. It wasn't thick enough to have lumps. Yellow water would be a more accurate description.

So here I am with another six weeks to go in the care of Rosa and her team. And Barack Obama wants to give this to America! If he does he'll certainly go down in history. Now if you'll excuse me I'll stop there as I can hear the sound of the warm-drinks trolley coming.


  1. Glad you still have your sense of humour! Hopefully that will keep you sane for the next 6 weeks! x

  2. The BBC agrees!

    Prison food 'beats NHS hospitals'


  3. At first glance that photo looked like something from an STD leaflet. Keep up the blog and find something long flexible and thin to tackle the inevitable itch under the plaster. Been there and got better. Best Wishes.

  4. Not sure I really understand. At the beginning of this piece you're saying that the "liberals" in the US should not support something like the NHS.

    But if it wasn't for the NHS, how would your situation be any better? You clearly don't have private health insurance. You would be facing a massive bill.

    I don't mind paying my taxes to ensure you have access to healthcare. I just wish you'd be a little bit more grateful.

  5. It was just a bit of fun. No politics intended. Sorry if I confused you. I confuse myself. Put it down to the drugs.

  6. I thought it was funny, Im in canada, the hospital food isn't the greatest but it seems to look more edible than your food. Great blog, I like your writing, keep it up:)

  7. Arkenor, you sound like a complete arse!

  8. having spent a fair amount of time in US hospitals i'd have to say i think the food is already comparable.
    mine even came with a paper saying what each item was though, which was very helpful when the orange lumps tasted exactly like the beige lumps and it turned out the brown lumps were just lumps, not actually food.

    my especial favorite was that the kitchen argued with the dietician that the extra protein wasn't on the diabetic diet even though i needed it to replace lost muscle mass. and then the kitchen sent someone up with a cold sausage patty wrapped in a napkin and told me that someone else didn't want their sausage so i could have it.

    also they got my food allergies written down and sent me the fruit cup with mango anyway, which could have stopped me breathing if i hadn't been paying attention. and then didn't want to bring me another fruit or something with carbs even though the nurse had already given me insulin for it.

    i think the only difference in a national healthcare system here would be that more people would have the opportunity to have bad food to complain about.

    best of luck to you

  9. But... but... there was no chicken there! I don't understand, I really don't - especially since my stay in a children's hospital a few years ago involved meals which the children couldn't eat, mostly because of the huge chunks of tough meat that most of the kids couldn't even cut, let alone chew.