Friday, 18 September 2009

A big thank you

The power of the internet is an awesome thing. Notes from a Hospital Bed has now had 148,446 page views and is growing daily. My hearty thanks go out to all the really lovely people who have left such kind messages of support. You don’t know how much it means. And to the Aussie community; I never realised what a lovely, friendly bunch of people you are. When I’m back on my feet Australia is first on my list of places to visit… as long as you can sort those big ugly spiders out for me.

And to the few miserable posters who have accused me of being a whinger, an ungreatful (sic) sod or a miserable git... please get in touch. I can give you the name of an excellent therapist who has been able to help many people with severe personality disorders and sense of humour failures. I don’t know what it’s like to live alone and be without friends but I do sympathise. However, venting your spleen on the sick and the disabled will only make you feel worse in the long run. So turn that computer off, get out of your bedsit and pop out into the fresh air and you may find out that life’s not so bad after all and that even someone as bitter as you could eventually make friends and have a life.

I hope this blog has highlighted the problem of poor nutrition in hospital and that it may give someone like Jamie Oliver the inspiration to take up the cudgel on behalf of malnourished patients. I have never spent time in hospital in my life and yet here I am, a long-term guest (or should that be customer?) of the NHS and totally at its mercy for all my needs. So, if you don’t campaign for better food for people like me then do it for yourself because you never know when you might be in need of nourishment to get you through a chronic illness.

Blogging might be a little light for the rest of today as I have a massive headache from having stayed up all night trying to answer some of the comments and making sure that I read every one. I’d love to respond to each of you individually but even with all the time on my hands, I think it would be a Herculean task.

Peace, love and thanks...

Traction Man


  1. I love reading your posts - I love your sense of humour.

    I think if you mean to get better, which I know you do, you would be well advised to face on to how you can get better nourishment in the immediate term. Perhaps one of the reasons your recovery is taking so long is because you spend so much time dependent on hospital food. I wonder what the nutrient content is regardless of how it looks or tastes.

    Someone else has commented that you can use your phone and credit card to order food to be brought to you. I think you should seriously think about doing that. However, try (I know it may be difficult) to identify a local restaurant that might be able to bring you proper meals. Delivery food is normally pizza and other unhealthy food - you need good nourishing food - meat and vegetables. If you are going to be there for a while you may be able to negotiate a cheaper price with a restaurant based on the fact you are likely to be ordering from them daily for a few weeks.

    Another alternative is a company like that are set up to do something similar (but not with hospitals in mind).

    I look at things from a bodybuilding point of view because that’s what I do, but recovering from illness or injury is a similar thing just with a different starting point and good nutrition, meat and vegetables, is an essential component.

    Hospital beds are expensive to run and food is cheap. I wonder if anyone has ever done any analysis to work out that perhaps if you increase the food budget by 50% that patients may get better 5% quicker and end up saving the health service money??

    We’re thinking of you - together with all the other patients you speak for.

    All the best, musclebear (

  2. so sorry for you - if you are anywhere near the M5 I'll pop in with some reasonably edible food. Your food bingo has made my husband see that my cooking is not actually that bad! Keep up the excellent blogging. You are a hero of our time.

    To those who are going to shoot me down as only the armed forces are heroes, they at least knew what they were signing up for and many of us may end up in hospital whereas not so many will end up in the forces.


  3. Keeping with the food theme...

    Remember, don't feed the trolls!

  4. Traction Man,
    There is no way that I can physically help you, considering I am in America (did you know that you were featured on yahoo's home page?), however I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Everyone knows that you need good nutrition in order to recover and that vitamin deficiencies only exacerbate any other illness you have. I wonder how this basic fact has eluded your NHS. It seems the desire to save money has surpassed the desire to get people well, quickly and as pleasantly as possible.

    Keep your spirits up and know that we are thinking of you!!!!

  5. After several weeks of the same torturous food this year and unfortunately more to come - I feel some of you pain.
    I hope this does highlight the problem of hospital food as it's usually inedible and looks like it's been dragged from a bin.
    I'm not sure what they do to it as it sounds like perfectly good food but once it passes through the hospital doors it becomes something from a parrallel universe!!!

    Good luck with your recovery and here's hoping you get a bacon butty soon :-)

  6. How's TurboDog, TM?

    The drawings look very like you!

  7. Bacon butty... Now you're talking!

  8. When my mother was in hospital in Bristol they used a Lloyd Grossman menu, it didn't stop the amount of food returned uneaten on her ward though !

    There was a small kitchen just outside the ward, I think the food arrived chilled and was put in the microwave.

    Good luck

  9. @Traction Man yeah well we all belong to a charity group called 'Help the Journo'... we see it that it is bad enough for you that you are a journalist anyway... let alone being hospitalised with it!


  10. you said "as long as you can sort those big ugly spiders out for me"

    Just what the hell do you think is under that lovely cheese sauce !!!

    Now eat yer protein and we'll save you some goanna.

  11. Love the Blog. Hospital food is indeed dire and looks as though it consists of scrapings from the floor, wet cement and dog poo. Having been in hospital and lived, I can only say that when friends brought food in the other patients had to be held off with upturned chairs and a fork before they'd form a queue. :-)

    The pizza idea works, too. Curry? Three course Italian? Just get a gang together and get one of the visitors to pick it up - one of the local restaurants might even sort something as a publicity stunt .. hehe (eeeeevillllll laugh)

    Hang in there and continue with your trumpetings from your bed of pain. We hear you. You are global.

  12. Feel very behind the times as have only just found out about your (excellent) blogging from the BBC news website.

    Very much enjoyed reading some older posts and looking forward to the next instalments. I hope you are able to go home sooner rather than later - had no idea hospital food was quite so bad! Maybe this is why they try and hustle visitors out at dinnertime...?

    On a financial note, have you considered the possibility of serialising this blog as a book? It's possible you'd be able to get it published now you've had such good publicity.

    Good luck for something edible today!

  13. ignore the 'naysayers' and the miserable gits..the people with a sense of humour are loving the blog. Keep your strength up and get well, i have it on good authority that you can survive perfectly well on Marsbars and milk so don't even bother with the slop..(just keep photographing it for our amusement)

  14. Best of luck, Traction Man - have been reading you for a couple of days now. Not only do we share a sense of humour but what you are doing is a cause close to my heart. I have not spent time in hospital myself but the more I read about ghastly nutritional standards, the way elderly people are treated in hospital and the disgraceful profits made by hospital caterers, the angrier it makes me.

    It amazes me that hospitals are meant to make people better and one of the cheapest, easiest and most cost effective ways to do so is by providing patients with highly nurtitious, balanced meals to build up their strength. And not leaving the elderly to get dehydrated causing further complications. Doctors and nurses are highly intelligent and sensible people - can't they protest en masse at the situation we have? Or are the management drones just too powerful?

    All the best and I hope that your blog will make the Labour apparatchiks do something about it...keep up the good work.

  15. All the best from the colonies Traction Man. I remember when my Mum was in hospital with 3rd degree burns and was being fed things like cold frankfurts with spaghetti. I am sending you mental pizzas (with healthy toppings of course); hope someone smuggles you in a steak.

  16. "And to the Aussie community; I never realised what a lovely, friendly bunch of people you are"

    We let you win every so often :)

  17. Don't worry too much about our spiders Traction Man. They shouldn't bother you if you don't bother them....well not much anyway.
    I understand that the poisonous cane toads and highly venomous snakes take care of quite a few deadly spiders as well, so you'll be right!
    Ahhh Australia, beautiful one day and kinda scary the next. But we like it. :D

  18. Dear Traction Man - greetings from blue sky (at the moment) London!

    So sorry for your situation but you have really brightened up a dull week.

    The food situation - you are good to make light of it - should be an embarassment to the country/NHS as a whole - we all pay towards this whether we want to or not - the French (or others) would have revolted by now.

    Here's wishing you a speedy recovery.

    kind regards Sarah and the Chelsea Gang (my cats whose food you might rather prefer)

  19. I have linked you in my blog under the pseudo, "The English Patient", haha.

    Don't you worry about those losers, there will always be people like 'em.

  20. People should learn that when we criticize something it actually goes in their favor. People who criticize or complain are often deemed a nuisance, but it really should be the other way around. Maybe if more people worried about the quality of the services they recieved we wouldn't complain so much. Keep it up, Traction Man, you've done nothing wrong.

  21. I had a 10 stay at a hospital here in Canada and went through what Traction Man is experiencing.Each meal,a sweet young girl would deliver a tray of congealed slop,and apologize for it. I never laid eyes on a fresh vegetable or piece of fruit during my stay.It doesn't take long before it affects your mental state.

    Fight the good fight Traction Man! May I suggest brown sauce and a blindfold in the mean time?

  22. Aw Traction Man. I hope the headache passes. Hospitals have that effect on me to! I spend a lot of time on a paediatric ward with my son and the food they serve the kids is not any better! I always end up getting his dad to bring pre made supermarket salads in for me as the stuff they serve in the canteen isn't much better but costs a fortune!

    I only came to your blog yesterday as the BBC news website had a piece about you. I am so glad they did. Your comments on your hospital stay have been spot on! Good nursing, rubbish food!

    Get well soon and keep blogging!

  23. Maggie L, Wiltshire18 September 2009 at 16:25

    Sorry you've had some whingers - some people love to moan!! Hope all the support is helping, I've been reading since yesterday when you were in the papers and love your blog!

    Hospital food has always been bad but that doesn't excuse it. It needs addressing NOW! Where's Jamie when you want him?? At least you are able to eat it (if you dare!) - elderly folk often are left with a meal they can't reach or can eat due to incapacity either mental or physical.

    Keep up the blogging and don't let the b*****ds grind you down!

    PS be nice to your physio when she comes to see you

  24. Yes mate...we Aussies are a friendly bunch. Read about you online at the Sydney Morning Herald. I'm in Paris. Sorry about your lousy nosh. My 5 year old gets a three course school meal at lunchtime. Melon with prosciutto to start, Beef Bourguignon for the main followed by crème brûlée. Wine is optional with the cheese plate before the dessert of créme brulé. Followed by fruit.

    Keep your chin up my son. Malkie

  25. Hello from Canada. Your wit makes me laugh, though I do feel for your plight. As a young woman, my brief hospital stay last year allowed me to lose quite a bit of weight. I was hungry, but I never looked so good. Terrible food makes for an easy diet.

    Keep up the good work and well wishes for a speedy (from this point on) recovery and a good meal when you get out.

  26. Fookin hilarious again matey....keep it up and don't forget about the Nurse certainty thing I told u about yesterday.....

  27. So glad I found you!! geraldgee has a link for you on his blog... looking forward to coming to visit again soon. x

  28. You blog made the top story on the Sydney Morning Herald Technology section. Nice one

  29. Guest or customer of the NHS? I would have thought "victim" was more appropriate.

  30. Hi - have just read all your posts and really enjoyed them. Awful though your experiences are, TM, they make marvellous reading! All the very best from Canberra Australia.......

  31. Awww, only just found your blog, thanks to good coverage on Yahoo. Lovin' it. You really should get this stuff published.......every cloud and all that.

    Keep smiling

  32. Awww,Man,this food looks like something my dogs have regurgitated up!Sure hope the nurses are a "BETTER" sight than the food..;)

  33. Hey Traction Man, when you get out of hospital and come to visit your legion of Australian fans, please come for dinner at our place. I'm dying to put a face to the humour and I promise you, I can cook!

  34. Thankyou for your awesome blog and don't worry about all the drongos with no sense of humour. There are some very strange people out there in the internets.

  35. Lovely blog. I've spent months in traction myself so I know exactly what you are going through. Sorry to say that the hospital food was much better back in the 80's.... I went in a stick-insect and came out a hippo...

  36. I love your posts too, I'm so glad your situation was highlighted on the internet. Anyone who thinks you're just being miserable needs to walk a mile in your shoes and see just what it's like.

    Keep up the great blog!!

    (another of your Aussie fans)

  37. Aussie hospitals provide a staple of vegemite, lamingtons & pavlovas!

    WIshing you a speedy recovery Traction Man - pretty awesome super hero name. You definitely need a catch phrase or something.

  38. You got a comment from Rab C Nesbitt, that has to be worth 6 weeks of slop surely? :-))

  39. You are just so amazing. Being so optimistic on a hospital bed.

    Hope you get well soon.
    Love from Hong Kong.

  40. Ha Ha Ha, love your posts, shame about the food mate, have you tried feeding it to the flesh eating bug? tha should kill it off!

  41. Successful bloggers should take steps to make these kinda contests more common so that visitors get attracted.