True or False: You can trust a hospital to safely feed you a gluten free meal.
For me, TOTALLY FALSE! And honestly, completely unbelievable.
While staying at Duke Regional Hospital to deliver Mason Modesto…
I was SHOCKED by the “gluten free” options that were brought to me.
I hadn’t eaten a meal since Thursday night. Friday morning I had one gluten free cracker and that was it. So by the time I was moved in to my post delivery room around 7am on Saturday, nearly 32 hours since my last meal, I was STARVING.
The first thing brought to me:
Chocolate Ice Cream and one egg scrambled. Yep. That’s the gluten free option.
Luckily Parrish asked the staff person if they had any fruit – she enthusiastically nodded Yes! (You could tell she wasn’t impressed with the plate she was offering me) She came back to my room with a giant take out container full of fruit.
After sleeping for a few hours and staring at our precious baby,
Parrish ran out quickly to Whole Foods which was only 5 minutes away. Thank goodness! He bought yogurts and frozen meals: EVOL and Amy’s Gluten Free. In my hospital bag I had a few protein bars and granola, and there was a kitchen on our floor that was stocked with peanut butter.
I now felt confident that I could feed myself safely, which was good, because my next “gluten free” meal was one bowl of green beans and one bowl of mashed potatoes.
Good thing I hadn’t been in labor for 50 HOURS and needed nourishment….Oh wait, I had.
I couldn’t believe the lack of protein.
The next morning for breakfast I was brought an identical tray as the day before. Chocolate ice cream, one scrambled egg, two bowls of fruit, and a banana. However, tucked underneath the plate was a “Gluten Free” menu.
I was going to be able to select my food! I was flabbergasted when I saw Gluten Free Toast and Gluten Free Cereal as an offering for breakfast on Monday. What the heck?!
I circled items for each meal. My lunch that Sunday and my supper, and finally my breakfast for Monday morning. For lunch I chose a soup with salad – for supper I chose grilled chicken with roasted vegetables. I couldn’t believe my selection.
Literally. I could NOT believe it.
I wish I had had more faith in Duke Regional….then again, it’s lucky I didn’t.
When my lunch arrived, I raised the lid on my tray to find a bowl of iceberg lettuce, a bowl of green beans, and a pudding cup.
No soup – and I guess I could call the bowl of iceberg a “salad” but there was no dressing and no other vegetable in sight. Not even a sad piece of cabbage or strings of carrots. Nada.
By the time supper rolled in, I readied my camera. My blog friends would not believe it!
Not only was it not what I ordered, it certainly was NOT gluten free! But you want to know the saddest thing:
When I shared this on social media I learned that I was not alone. In fact, this picture and others I shared of the food were flocked with comments by dear readers sharing their similar tales of woe.
One sweet reader had had abdominal surgery and then was given beef broth with barley in it. Another had to call a friend to bring her food while she was recovering. Message after message, it started to hit home for me. Nearly eight years of being gluten free, and I’m still learning the same lesson: be wary of those trying to feed you. Even a hospital!
Be an advocate for yourself and have a support system ready to advocate for you! I was so out of it that first morning, thank goodness Parrish asked for fruit!
Be prepared. Make plans to bring your own food or have safe food brought to you.
Trust no one. Sad? Yes. Dramatic? Maybe. But oh so true. Only you can ensure that what you’re eating is gluten free. Be sure you really trust anyone whose food you accept.
And my breakfast that last morning?
I enjoyed a banana with peanut butter and a protein bar – provided by Parrish.
What did the hospital provide me with?
Take a guess.
You know what it was.
Yep. Chocolate Ice Cream, one Scrambled Egg, and a bowl of fruit.