Vegan Complicated? Rare Inside Month-Long Look at Hospital Food, As Non-Vegan Hubby Almost Dies

The day before Halloween, my 80 year-old husband (he’s 18 years older than me) said, “Ya know, I think I pulled a muscle climbing on the roof yesterday.” A few hours later, “Ya know, I think we need to get this checked out.”

IMG_4445_1When you go to the emergency room, in many hospitals, they have a protocol called, “From ER to Balloon in 60 Minutes.” When you walk in and say, “I have chest pain,” and an EKG confirms heart attack in progress, bells and whistles go off. Clarence, my husband, was in surgery for 3 stents within 30 minutes. He came within an hour of dying.

I had always thought heart attacks were more noticeable, especially in men. My sister had several, and didn’t even know it before she had her first bypass surgery. Clarence had asked the cardiologist not to do bypass, if possible. But in trying to insert the stent in the third artery, the video the cardiologist showed me later, captured the vessel blowing up. Two bypass surgeries were scheduled for the next morning.

I’d watched too many relatives go through this. But it had been a few years, and the technology was mind boggling. If you know anyone who can affect change…politicians, non-profits…please forward.

IMG_4451For anyone who says a vegan diet is complicated, THIS is complicated:

 

Think a vegan diet is difficult? THIS is difficult. Difficult for the patient. Difficult for any loved one to watch.

 

Isn’t eating colors of the rainbow much easier?

 

Can you imagine how much money it costs to educate people to understand all of this?

 

Google maps couldn’t figure this out. Humor is about all I had left. When my dh woke up he said, “I never want to go through this pain again. Help me IMG_4434go vegan.” I have.

 

After 2 days in ICU, next was the step-down unit for several days. In the waiting room, free food and condiments were offered to family. Butter and cream in the frig.

 

I was encouraged to sleep at the hospital, which I did, for the better part of the month my husband was there. This was about the only breakfast they served that I could eat. Bagels with hydrogenated peanut butter. Our home was far away. I brought in what food I could, when I could.

 

IMG_4508My husband was ordered to be on a liquid diet for most of his stay to deal with a multitude of complications. He would later say, “If I had known about all these complications, including my total loss of taste (common in bypass surgery and meds they require), I would have done things differently.” People get desperate on their deathbeds, I always say in my cooking classes. True, once again. Most mind-boggling…the head of the unit, a doctor, and several other other doctors told us, “You know more about nutrition than I do. Bring him whatever you want.” So I parked my veganmobile as close as I could to the entrance and brought in my Vitamix. Doesn’t everyone?

 

It’s about to get gruesome. Here’s what I found in the cafeteria. I posted many of these on Facebook and have never had such engagement. I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves and hope that someone in a position of power might see these and be as outraged as I and so many others are. That patients and their families, the most vulnerable population, have this to choose from when they are captive in a hospital is dispicable. New York Times? (link to their health reporter) Anyone?

IMG_4594The casserole pix got more response than any other. Someone guessed that it was two leftover casseroles combined into one. Sounds about right.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, fried something, jello encasing canned peaches on a bed of whipped cream, fries. I chose the kale decoration,

which still had rubber bands holding it together, and the cashier said, “You’re going to eat that?” “Yes, my husband just had a heart attack. Kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.”

Ham in the spinach. Why. Dressing for the wilted lettuce. No thanks. Have a little burned sausage with that?

Dr. Neal Barnard would say that’s one boatload of crispy heterocyclic amines. He’s the first hero doc I know who started connecting the dots between charred meat and cancer.

IMG_4573In case the bacon or sausage by itself isn’t enough, sausage-wrapped-bacon. Even to a non-vegan, this must be hard to see if your relative just had a heart attack.

Nothing but pity for the employees who have to eat this.  Why don’t they rebel? What can we do?