Soup and Fries


I was reminded today while talking to a friend of an incident that occured on my second day in the hospital after having my son. It was absolutely absurd and I thought I would share.

Ladies, if you have had children, you probably understand the complete and utter turmoil that your body is in immediately following giving birth. Hormones raging, body ‘stomped and trodden’, uncomfortable, exhausted, and well…icky. And if you are nursing, God help you. I was all of the above and the hormones had been on a constant roller coaster for almost two years because my kids were so close together. Imagine, if you will, my mental state.

The hospital I was in made you order your food. It didn’t just show up at an appropriate meal time so that you could concentrate on healing and getting better. Nope. You had to call on the telephone (my favorite *&%^! thing) and place an order then wait an hour for the food to arrive. I had dutifully engaged in this inane ritual for lunch and received the wrong food. I got tomato soup instead of chicken noodle. I despise tomato soup. It is awful. It is terrible. It makes me gag. So I only ate a puny sandwich for lunch and left the soup untouched.

On this day, there had been many visitors, and the boy had found his appetite. So by the time the visitors had left for the day, Terry had taken V home, and I got some ‘dinner’ in the newborn it was 8 p.m. I was starving having only eaten a small sandwich for lunch while having a whole other human sucking energy literally from my body all day!

I callled down for dinner and that is when the absurdity…no…stupidity started. After a day and a half in the hospital, suddenly I had all manner of dietary restrictions. I couldn’t have chicken noodle soup because the noodles had eggs. I am mildly allergic to eggs and apparently the minimum wage order taker is much more qualified to know how to manage that than I am. I would obviously order something that would make me violently ill. (REALLY?!) So I started attempting to order pretty much anything else on the menu. All a no go. I had been placed on all manner of dietary restrictions that I hadn’t known about and apparently had not had at lunch. Yep. I had a sodium restriction among other things even though they had sent up two packets of salt with breakfast. When all was said and done, the only things on the ENTIRE menu I could have was some fruit, tomato soup, and french fries. I don’t eat tomato soup. I don’t like french fries. And since I was nursing, I was really trying to eat a healthy yet substantial meal. But my options that wouldn’t make me gag were pretty much fruit and french fries.

I took a deep breath, tried to gain some control over my hormonal rage, and asked for a manager. I thought surely if I went up a pay grade, I could get to someone with some sense. Nope. The manager and I went down the entire menu again and all I could eat was tomato soup, fruit, and french fries.

I wanted a big bowl of chicken noodle soup. Such an unreasonable request.

Hormones and extreme hunger are just for the record, not a good combination. At this point I lost my ever loving mind.

After everything that has happened in the past two years: Dad’s death, two hard and high risks pregnancies, V’s four surgeries and full month in the hospital, 80 some odd trips to the doctor for pregnancy related tests between the two kids, my mother-in-law’s not remotely insignificant health issues, home remodeling, moving, two job changes in the household, closing an estate and selling my childhood home… After all of that, not being able to get a bowl of chicken noodle soup is THE thing that sent me into an incoherent fit of crazy unlike anything I have displayed in my 33 years on the planet. That is saying something my friends.

Tears. Screaming. Heaving sobs. Spinning in a circle dazed and unable to formulate a complete thought. Throwing of nearby objects. (The baby was in the nursery and well away from the drama. ) Asking if there was anyone WITH A FUNCTIONING BRAIN I could speak too. It was ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Not one of my finer moments.

And the care partner walked in right at that moment. She looked horrified. I must have been a sight. I think hot mess would be an accurate description. She asked me what was wrong and I jibbered something incoherently at her. She carefully took the phone away from me, got up to speed on the situation and attempted to reason with Dietary Services unsuccessfully. She called for the charge nurse who had been my regular nurse the night before. (She was an absolute hoot by the way and fantastic nurse to boot.) The charge nurse arrived and tried to reason with them while the care partner calmed me down, wiped my face, and took my blood pressure. The charge nurse tried to explain to them that you just don’t say no to a freshly postpartum lady. And you definitely don’t say no to her when it comes to food and it is obvious she is ‘emotionally compromised.’ You definitely don’t say no to the charge nurse. Still a no go. Tomato soup, french fries, and fruit. Period. Suck it. So she ordered me some fruit.

God bless those women’s hearts. They asked me what I truly wanted to eat. It was a big hospital and surely they could find me something other than tomato soup and french fries. I told them the biggest bowl of chicken noodle soup they had ever seen was the only thing in the world I wanted at that moment. They told me they would make that happen if they had to kill the chicken and make the noodles themselves. They left me to settle myself back in bed and attempt to regain my humanity, sanity, and dignity. Fifteen minutes later, the care partner walked through my door with the biggest bowl of piping hot Campbell’s chicken noodle soup ever. It was the best thing I have ever eaten in my life.

And guess what? I didn’t die. Go freakin’ figure Dining Services. Go freakin’ figure.

My take-aways from this incident:

Hormones are evil. Evil. Evil.
My care partner and the charge nurse (whose names I am withholding since they broke the rules for me) are fantastic and deserve hazard pay for that night in March. I’m pretty sure they don’t get paid enough to deal with that. And the Vanderbilt maternity ward is actually excellent in general given my two experiences with them.
Dining Services at this hospital sucks!
This hospital’s idea of ‘healthy’ food for a nursing mother is apparently tomato soup, french fries, and fruit.
Just have someone bring you your food if you are imprisoned in the hospital.
I can look back now and laugh at the situation and my reaction to it. But seriously, tomato soup, french fries, and fruit. Little ridiculous, ain’t it?

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