If the days are getting longer, it must be time for our Third Annual Hospital Food Review! This year’s entry brought to you by my brand-new ACL and the German practice of providing shelter, food, and 3 days of round-the-clock care for the recently anesthetized. I started spluttering about wasted time/quick healing/you-can’t-make-me when the doctor first explained that I’d stay at the clinic for two nights after what would be an outpatient surgery in the U.S., but then I remembered that I have two tiny kids, flour flights of stairs, and a husband very much capable of managing the household in my absence. I started downloading Downton Abbey episodes and brainless novels to the iPad and deciding how many bonbons I’d need to make it through three straight days of lounging in bed.
The food was plentiful and bland. Note that, despite certain challenges in navigating a trip to the bathroom, patients at the Klinik Manhagen are served an entire carafe of coffee:
Upon checking in at the Klinik, you receive written information about the risks of surgery and anesthesia, a form allowing the insurance company and the state access to your health information, and an order card for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea time (or, as I like to call it, Cake Break.) The anesthesiologist checks to make sure that you’ve followed the instructions to fast from 9pm the night before, and, realizing that you allowed your pre-procedure hunger to take over the breakfast order, you start to wonder if muesli+fruit+bread+meat+cheese+coffee+yoghurt might have been a little ambitious. Turns out it wasn’t; bored confinement and overeating are happy bedfellows. When my surgery ran long and at 2pm the nurse suggested a slice of cake and a coffee for my postoperative meal, explaining that lunch ends at 1:30, I laughed out loud and said, ‘Nein.’ She looked shocked, I realized that I was asking her to flout the laws of GermanLunchTime, and I explained that I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and would very much appreciate something more substantial. She came 30 long minutes later with a reheated lunch, I was grateful, and we spent the rest of my stay there in the certain understanding that she had gone to great, amazing, wondrous lengths for me despite the unreasonable demand.
Tobias, meanwhile, wasn’t antagonizing caretakers but was instead providing excellent care to his charges: he took them to music class, they went swimming, he and Frida together cooked a fish and ate it. Tobias might be ready for a serious nap (Max still wakes up every 2 hours in the night to eat, and Tobias has been on call for going on 120 hours straight now,) but he’s doing a bang-up job: