Monday, 23 November 2009

Soup and excuses

Sorry for the lack of posts but much of the day has been spent with my leg in the air. No, I've not taken up ballet, but for some reason my leg has decided to swell again. The calf muscles need to be strong to act as the 'second heart' and return fluids back up the body. Mine are still a bit spindly and wimpish so I was elevated today. The pain and swelling have reduced and I'm now enjoying a warming homemade winter soup in front of the wood burner.

It's easy to forget now I'm home how bad the food was in hospital and I vowed I would try to do something about it when I broke free. I know I haven't written much about it recently but I was giving myself a bit of time off to get used to being home. But I haven't forgotten and I'm currently helping a TV production company to try to find an appropriate platform for the campaign.

I'm also hoping to start more research on the whole subject in terms of best practice and the amount health trusts spend on food per patient. I also need your help. If you could send me photos of good and bad hospital food where you work or are a patient, then perhaps one day we can go as far as having a league table or maybe even hospital food awards as well as wooden spoons!

If you can help with launching a campaign or just have some good ideas then let me know. If you'd like to write on the blog then let me know too. As I build up my strength then so will I step up my efforts to do something about this shameful aspect of the healthcare system.

In the meantime, I'm going to put my feet up, enjoy the fire and maybe play Scrabble with Mrs XTM!


  1. This soup looks great. I hope the swelling goes down quickly and wish you a seven letter on a triple word...

  2. Hospital is a seven-letter word... hospitalised is even better if you can find a hook. Soup looks lovely but did I spot some (gasp) peas?

  3. Tomorrow my husband needs to go to hospital for ,10am radiotherapy, 11am oncologist appointment, then 1.30pm change of chemo bag (worn 24/7). He is unable to eat anything available from WRVS shop (not their fault). So we will be leaving home at 8.45am, there is no saying these appointments will be on time,so we hopefully we will be home by 3.45pm. So we will need to take food requirements with us ie soup.We will not the only people taking our own food, there are plenty of people with tin foil wraps containing all sorts of goodies. This is another side of the NHS food situation.Or perhaps they are on a tight budget, because of the distance they are travelling to hospital or the parking fees! (See next paragraph).

    Just another moan we have 'free parking permit',can we find a place to park. No! So tomorrow will cost £2.80 for 2 hours, so we arrive at 9.45 and leave at approx 3.15.Again this is if everything runs on time.

  4. food looks great - hope the oedema goes down soon, and you continue the long process of remobilisation. I do hope you get a campaign going to improve hospital food (and stop the appalling parking charges). You could become a national hero!

  5. plow forward with the rese4arch traction man , you were not the only long tewrm patient suffering from malnutrition and wont be the last , maybe you can be the one to make the differance , dare we say pulitzer?reform?or at least an apology to the masses from the nhs

    i think the big wigs at the nhs should be forced to eat the hospital food everyday for a month the regular menu , not the one for the posh set .that would maybe open their eyes. sort of like a slum lord being forced to live in his own tenement .

    hope your swelling goes down , and for tonights dinner in my house , frozen tv dinners . and they should be happy i paid money for the decent ones . lol

    rhonda , usa

  6. Are you only after UK hospital food pictures or are other countries able to join in?

    The reason I ask is because I am on a wait list for surgery at a public hospital in Aus, don't know when it will be, but I can take a camera in if you like :) (assuming I get a surgical date somewhere this side of 12 months or so LOL)

    Kos in Perth

  7. The soup looks delish TM...I did a traditional Greek chickpea side dish today, it was fabulous.

    1 kilo chickpeas. 1 cup of olive oil. 1 whole onion, juice of a lemon, salt and peper,water.tablespoon of flour.tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda.

    Soak peas overnight in hot water. drain following day, place in a large bowl, cover the peas in the soda and mix well, leave to stand for half hour and rinse well.Place peas in a large pan with the oil and onion, cover with water and bring to boil, simmer for half hour or until peas are soft or mushy, add the salt, pepper and lemon juice, mix well and bring up to boil once more, take off heat and add the flour, mix well, if it is too thick add water, serve with fresh crusty buttered bread, add chopped spring onion if desired. On a cold day it is perfect with a few shots of Raki or Ouzo, can be frozen and ideal to add to casseroles or stews.


  8. OK. We know about hospital food. We know that travelling distances to appointments suck but the parking charges on top of everything else just totally are wrong!
    For my son to visit one of the sick kids hospitals, which is a centre of excellence, it costs me almost £10 parking fees. This on top of getting us both out for 7am to be there for 9am because of the rush hour, city traffic I have to drive through.
    Then, we have to try to find a parking place, pay the fee and then find some food! We have started taking food with us to hospitals now as it is far too expensive for me to buy a proper meal for us both.
    So, a visit to hospital, for clinic, costs me about £30!!!
    We did go to a different hospital recently and I did buy food there but from the WRVS which was lovely and cheap! And the parking, if it an be found, was free!
    All this aside, can I just point out that when I was a nurse in a city centre hospital, I had to pay for parking! And even with them taking lots of money off my wages every month I was not assured of a parking space!

    This goes off the subject! THe soup looks wonderful!

  9. Kos... Hospital food from around the world is welcome. Ask everyone you know to be on the look out and send those photos to me.

    Ness... That sounds great. I'm going to try that dish. Noto with Ouzo or Raki... I can't abide aniseed.

  10. The Berkshire Royal Hospital in Reading provided my husband with free parking when he had to visit approx. 40 times for a course of radiotherapy a few years ago. He could always find a space but drove a mini at the time which helped. I am not sure if they still provide the free parking though.

  11. That's the sort of help patients need!

  12. Indeed XTM (Free parking at Royal Berkshire). He went in vain a few times as the machine was broken, but the nurses were magnificent every time. Luckily every blast was short so he can't comment on the quality of the food - but care was exemplary.

  13. Spending two weeks on the Special care baby unit was the worst two weeks of my life. Having just given birth to my placenta, the menu the next lunchtime was liver and onions. All we got for diner was a stale sandwich. As staff however, I had access to the staff room and microwave so sent my husband off for some tasty ready meals which I survived on for the remainder of my stay. I fully sympathise with anyone who has to endure a stay in hospital, whatever length of time.

  14. A spell in hospital makes it clearer why care home residents sometimes suffer from malnutrition too.

  15. Parking in my local hospital: you can't buy a ticket for less that two hours. It's ridiculous! No one wants a visitor, other than one's nearest and dearest, for two hours, and many appointments are done in under an hour.
    This is what I do: I give any ticket with unused time on it to someone who has just arrived. And if I am just popping in for a quick visit (when you're in hospital there's nothing worse - other than the food - than someone who visits for too long - probably getting their money's worth!) I leave a note in the windscreen saying "Gone for change". I have never been fined, but have certainly saved enough car parking money to pay a fine if I ever get one. It's a matter of principle really

  16. In one hospital in Ramsgate ,where I had to go for check ups after my hysterectomy op, they charge 2 quid for parking for three hours. I was only in there an hour or so each time I had to go there, so we passed the ticket on to anyone who had a car. They were very gratefull as most patients were elderly.
    I must have started something as the last time I had to go there I saw quite a few handing over the car park ticket to drivers after use.


  17. What galls me about hospital parking charges is that people can arrive, say, twenty mins before a scheduled appointment but then to find they are waiting two, three hours or more to be seen.

    When I was in having my leg done the last month, there were people who had been told to turn up at 8.00 a.m. in the hope of being fitted in sometime during the day.

    That may be clinically sound - they are not a top priority - but when it's already 'nil by mouth' in case they are taken in for surgery, it's pretty tough then to say "Well, buy a 24 hour parking ticket, just in case."

    Two couples we met had had two days of this. Driving in first thing in the hope of being sorted and then left 'til closing time, only then to be told "Come back tomorrow, we'll try and see what we can do."

    Jam tomorrow, parking charges today and every day.

  18. Try getting Jamie Oliver's attention - he'd probably jump at the chance to shame the NHS into supplying decent food.

  19. I asked Jamie (via a tv production company) and it sounds as though Jamie is up to his eyes. In fact, I approached a few celeb chefs and none were keen. Perhaps they know how hard it would be and don't want to be associated with failure. Who knows?