I was in a hospital ward after coming a cropper beachside for two weeks over christmas and new year. I think I have a hairline fracture in my checkbone. You know that well worn phrase about being dowen a rabbit hole? I burrowed deep and showed them rascscally wabbits. I’ve picked myself up and slowly climbing myself out. Again.
I’m in a respite… sort of a halfway house for people who have come a mental and physical cropper.
What happened? A Monday night just before Christmas and me speed walking to nowhere fast led me to misstep in my best gay man sandals and, with a backpack containing my beloved laptop. I prioritised a macbook pro before my face… yep .. face first. Look Ma .. no hands.
Why was I speed walking ? All I am gonna say in the world of the interwebs is that I’ve not been all that happy of late. Incredibly depressed in fact. I lit a match under me just to watch myself burn. When anyone tried to blow it out, I put a blanket over the fire slowly. But it was too late. melted me and I burnt the blanket too.
Ouch. No , really, ouch.
After two weeks of performance art where I autopsied the greysd anatomy of hospital nosh I can now hold my hand on my broken heart when I say .. half the nosh is slosh and the other half is da boss …. (Translation for my mum: ‘da boss’ is an eighties reference meaning good). One dish in particular was actually pretty spectacular. A perfectly baked flake in just the right amount of butter with fresh parseley on top ….. my roomie and I were both quite shocked when we ate it. We both had the same quokka look when we turned to one another and said.. almost in unison, “Hey.. this is actually quite good!)
I made a friend in the QEH actue ward. I’ve never had a 75 year old friend before. I have one of those mum typed things and she is great.. but a friend .. never. Apparently she’s never had a gay friend before. It sounds like a b grade ‘buddy movie”. I’m trying to think of the catchphrase for the netflix title: Two unlikely friends land hard, unexpectedly. Both broken and bored in a hospital ward while their bodies slowly mend they make a little island for themselves. An island of stout friendship based on listening to one another’s drips, bedpans and the crashes and screams of the patients around them.
One of our many rituals was, of course food. Most nights we would have a little dinner party. I’d make tablecloths from napkins, centrepieces from spew bags, we would listen to carols by candlelight with disposable medical torches taped inside of our paper cutlery bags and make origami from the paper on the trays telling us what we ordered (often it was hard to define by just looking at it).
I really do understand that hospitals need to cater to a far wider common denominator than any restaurant. When you think about it they need to make:
- Bulk food for probably over 1500 meals a day.
- Bland food to tolerate a myriad of allergies and preledictions
- Food able to be served within a set and very finite timeframe.
- Cheap food with some form of nutritional value.
- For some reason, I guess due to the lack of teeth of most of the patients. It seems that
you often didn’t get what you ordered, Some of my highlights included:
Coconut beef with basil. Liz (My friend) and I would often spend a few hours of lengthy consultation and diagnosis to work out what our food actually was actually was.
Eventually we realised that if we could live through the swings and roundabouts of this food … well we’re both strong enough to do anything we want. Including pulling ourselves up, and living a good life.
I even started making my own QEH twists on some if the gear we were given.
My QEH tzatziki was made from our morning greek yoghurt tub, the cucumber from our lunchtime salads, the containered lemon wedges from our dinner meals and some minced garlic I got mum to bring in. It actually turned out quite well!
The QEH icecream came from the gluten free vanilla icecream tubs of dessert, mixed with a tiramisu we got one night and some of the little containers of apple pieces. Again – pretty good!
Once we realised uber eats delivered so on the last night, we shared a vietnamese feast with our amazing nurses. They called us two broken birds. The QEH version of Thelma and Louise. Even thinking of the care, the wisdom and love from those nurses, well .. salt water well in my eyes.
One of the nurses was a lovely punjabi woman called Rupa. She told us about an indian “proper street food” place
Oh and then there is Rupa. She is a punjabi nurse who is super, super excellent. She told me about a punjabi street food restaurant called Sukh Sagar on prospect road. Liz is in a nursin home and I am about to blow this pop stand and go home. In honour of Rupa and the other ace nurses I will bring a selection from the restaurant one time soon. Photos when I do!
Here are rupa’s favourites:
- Paar Bhaji
- Cholle Bhature
- Masala Dosa
- Uttapam Masala
- Paani Puri
Anyways, these are all just semi ordered ramblings about my time in hostibal. My heart, my mind and my busted up body are healing. I didn’t do any new years resolutions this year but I do hope to keep writing and stay out of trouble. Hang with Liz and keep dropping chocolate to the nurses in North East ward, Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Some of the wisest mages I know.