A while back I experienced hospital cafeteria food when my best friend had surgery. I even made a few suggestions about how it could be more consumer-friendly in 5 Ways to Improve Hospital Cafeteria Food. Experimenting with a vegan, gluten-free diet at the time, my dining choices were extremely limited.
This time, I was the one in the hospital and at the mercy of hospital dietitians. My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. By the time I went under the knife (technically, under the robot), I hadn’t eaten in more than 12 hours. Surgery complete, they moved me into a room around noon. My blood sugar was 158 mg/dL.
The nurse asked if I was hungry. Yes! My first post-op meal included many brightly colored liquids: cranberry juice, green gelatin, lemon Italian ice, chicken broth, and iced tea. Nothing was sugar-free except the iced tea and they graciously provided artificial sweeteners for that. Thank goodness. After lunch, my blood sugar jumped to 194 mg/dL. What a surprise.
Dinner brought another version of carbohydrate heaven. There was (white) pasta with meat sauce that covered half of my plate. There was a (white) breadstick about the size of my forearm. There was a handful of green beans and, of course, dessert in the form of banana pudding. Gotta get that sugar in somewhere. After dinner, my blood sugar was 181 mg/dL.
The next morning, they brought me breakfast. I was excited thinking I would, of course, get bacon and eggs. It might be turkey bacon, but there would be bacon. Wrong. I got raisin bran and fat-free milk. I got French toast, with sugar-free syrup. And I got half a banana. French toast AND raisin bran at the same meal? Have these folks never heard of the plate method? My blood sugar skyrocketed to 206 mg/dL.
Each of my trays was clearly marked as a “diabetic” meal. In what universe are these meals diabetic-friendly? I work so hard at home to eat the way I should to keep my blood sugar under control. After my hospital stay, I felt like a heart patient who spied his cardiologist sneaking a cigarette. Do what I say, not what I do.
Now that I’m home, my blood sugars are back to normal, or at least what’s normal for me. Hopefully, I’ll get to stay here for a while.