Wednesday, February 02, 2005

How do people get better in hospitals?

The food is enough to kill an ox. I got served this nukey boxed laundry sponge the other day which was supposed to be a crumbed fillet of whiting.

I took one look under the tin lid and pushed the tray away before it attacked me.

"What" you may ask, "was I doing back in hospital?"

Well, I'm glad you asked, and I'll provide as much detail as possible so you don't have to send emails asking for even more detail because I don't like that sort of thing.

It's common knowledge I've had two heart attacks over the last 30 months, but what you probably didn't know is that the bits of me that are supposed to keep my blood healthy are themselves not entirely functioning on high beam. The result is my blood is full of shit that shouldn't be there and the trespassers in my system love it. In 2003, one of these little bastards made its home in one of my valves, brought its friends and lovers around for a housewarming and before anyone knew what was going on, bug city was a thriving metropolis, thriving its little heart out - in my heart.

Yes I know, what a bunch of bastards.

The upshot of it is I get angina on a regular basis and bad tempered on an almost permanent basis and hospitalised with annoying regularity.

Years ago when my kidneys failed and I spent 6 days in hospital, the food was great. I ate better in hospital than I do at home and I'd snoop around looking for seconds. But since 2002, it has been a gastronomic nightmare. When I was last in hospital in 2003, my hopes of a return to culinary form from those in charge of the mess tent were dashed. It was just tasteless, tepid papier mache dross, the likes of which you wouldn't even expect in a railway diner. How they could possibly have made it any worse is a mystery, but they have.

I've been in and out for the last two weeks (give or take) with more than one overnight stay and my desperation to be discharged is directly proportional to the quality of the food. Or more accurately, the apparent danger of eating anything they put in front of me.

I had to get discharged if only to allay my hunger. Never mind if I had to be readmitted 36 hours later, and it's not like they care. Every time they readmit me, they get a budgetary allowance from the government for more than it really costs to keep me from slipping off the twig altogether.

That carefully disguised item they tried to tell me was fish looked more like something they'd hit with a broom, stunned with lemon juice then smothered with corn flake crumbs before finally leaving it infront of a radar because the ovens were on the fritz.

Sure they can autoclave the cutlery for the sake of hygiene but what's the point of eating with perfectly sanitary cutlery when the meal itself is so damn suspect? It either wasn't properly dead, or it had been dead for 270 years. Either way, it was not going to find its way past my epiglotis.

I don't get scared very easily - that comes with not giving a shit about very much - but when I lifted that lid the other day, I damn near panicked. If someone tried to make me eat that, my only recourse would have been to hit out or make a run for it. And I wasn't properly dressed to make a run for it.

My blood has enough shit in it without adding to it artificially by eating food that defies description as well as identification.

So that's about when I discharged myself, spurred on by an instinct for self preservation and a rumbly tummy that wanted something it could not only hope to ingest, but could actually convert to something useful to me and not the colonies living in the valves of my heart.

I wobbled my way to a taxi and went home for a Vegemite sandwich, a cup of coffee and three cigarettes before falling asleep on the couch after the cricket finished. (Australia beat West Indies.)

I'm not supposed to be smoking either. It's bad for my heart. Too bad. I still maintain trying to stop me smoking is bad for the whole world. I'm angry, nasty and ornery enough without being denied my little indulgence.

Only thing is now I haven't worked for more than two weeks and I can't even afford a bus ride to my next job appointment or even to put juice in the car for the appointment after that.

But I still have the internet until Feb 15 when my ISP tries to get it's monthly due and discovers there's nothing there. After that, your guess is as good as mine on whether or not I shall be able to invade cyberspace and frighten up a few lefties.

Here's to the future: Let's get it over with as quickly as possible.

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