What a Chef Eats in the Hospital


It is Tuesday night, the night after the horrible tropical storm/hurricane Sandy hit the east coast.  A raging southern storm that turned into The Perfect Storm, moving north, and causing devastation and loss of life.  All I could do was watch in sadness last night from my hospital bed as Sandy blew through New Jersey and New York.  Also I watched in  disdain as these silly newscasters stood in the street and got blown around, trying to hold on to their hats and keep their balance as they reported about the developing storm.  Does anyone else feel this is a little distasteful?  My apologizes to Anderson Cooper, as he is so cool, but it has been done enough!  Now it seems stupid.

I was in my warm, uncomfortable bed at Parkview Hospital.  For those of you reading this who do not live in Fort Wayne, Parkview has built a brand new hospital and the old one they now call Parkview Randalia, because it is on Randalia Street.  Makes sense. It is by my old house and I had two of my babies here, so I feel right at home.  Why am I here?  I had bi-lateral total knee replacements one week ago exactly.  My knees have been bad for 7 years, ever since I had an awful bike wreck with my dog, Chloe.  (Yes she was a Weimeraner too.  A beautiful long hair, thank you very much. They may not be the best choice for me!)  I was riding my bike very fast and she was running beside me.  I was holding her leash.  It was my way to get a good run in with her every few days.  All of a sudden, I was on the road, face down in a pool of blood.  I am guessing she took of after a squirrel or something and got her leash entangled with my wheels.  Anyway, I got a few cracked ribs, stitches, and a broken ACL.  That was the beginning of My Bad Knees.

About one month ago, my husband and I were going to take the dogs for a walk and stupidly did not spell the word walk.  Immediately, the dogs began jumping and chest high-fiving each other, and generally acting like goof balls.  I was walking down our long hall to get my shoes, which is 45 feet long and the dogs think it is their indoor dog run, when the youngest, Portia, rammed into my left knee at top speed. She knocked me into the air and flat on my back.  I lay on the floor, crying giant crocodile tears because I knew that I could not finish my degree at Le Cordon Bleu and had to face reality that it was time to fix these glass knees.  (I know I told you this in the last blog, but I am building my story again.  :) )

My Frankenstein scars...ready for Halloween.

So here I am, with brand new titanium and plastic knees, learning how to walk with them, learning how to go up stairs again, and strengthening them in physical therapy twice a day.  I have an AWESOME doctor who has healing hands blessed by God and great nurses.  I am thankful for them.  I have wonderful friends, bringing me chocolates, flowers, and smutty magazines.  I am thankful I was not in the storm that I watched last night.  And I have the bestest, handsomest husband who visits me every day, and three sons, sending me their love from miles away.  But there is something lacking....

Good food.   Oh, how I miss it! While I am was stoned from all the pain killers,  we are weaning me off of them, and I am getting hungry.  And what does one do when one is faced with meals that are bought from a food company and then cooked or warmed in a giant, busy kitchen.  By gosh, we improvise!  

Remember, it is not the strongest who survive, but the most adaptable.  So what I have been doing is ordering a basic breakfast of yogurt but not Greek yogurt, unfortunately. Sometimes I will have a hard boiled egg. For lunch, I order steamed broccoli on a plate. This is important because it is not as mushy as when they steam it in a bowl.  I order the chicken noodle soup and add the broccoli to it, so I now have veggie chicken noodle soup.  I can also add green beans and any other vegetable on the list because it is all fresh.  Well, actually, I bet it is frozen. but that is the next best thing to fresh, non?

I can do the same to the tomato soup, but have to pick my veggies more carefully then.  I tried a grilled cheese and it was not worth the calories.  So I just stay with the soup, which has quite a bit of chicken in it, the vegetables, and some fruit.  For dinner, I am not ready to try any kind of beef because Lord know what kind of mystery meat it is, but I discovered that the marinated chicken is a real chicken breast, not one of those nasty pressed cutlets.  So I order the spinach salad, the chicken breast, a hard boiled egg,  you get it, and make my own giant, chef salad.  When I actually ordered turkey chef salad on the menu, it was deli meat and very gross.  This is better although it is packaged dressing.   One must make sacrifices.

 I could be getting skinny on all this, but there are chocolates in the room that must be eaten.