Once upon a time in this land of the free, home of the brave, there was food. Real food, cooked from ingredients. Things like chips were for parties or picnics, not an everyday thing, they were truly “junk food”, not “sides” or “vegetable choices”.
Let’s not dwell on the past though, the present (back then’s future) is now a technological wonderland. We do everything online, we order dinner (pizza), we submit job applications, we pay our bills. (well, I use “we” loosely, not everyone is internet dependent) Maybe it’s not the internet’s fault that we’ve become lazy, we don’t cook, we don’t go outside and play “kick the can” because it’s so much more fun to sit in an air conditioned room playing “candy crush”.
Someone I love very much was hospitalized last week, spent 18 hours in the ER at a prestigious hospital in Nashville. One would think that a hospital would no doubt have the most healthy of choices when it comes to feeding patients. I would like to say I was shocked at the lunch served to this pre-diabetic patient, but not much shocks me anymore.
Turkey on whole grain bread, fruit cup of peaches, and a bag of “baked” chips. I must tell you that my blood sugar really wanted to get all jacked up just seeing the meal, but my focus at the time was on my loved one. Postprandial blood glucose reading for her was 162. Let me remind you she is “pre-diabetic”, not full blown Type 2, when they offered her a shot of insulin that she promptly refused.
When did “a shot of insulin” become the first choice in treatment of a pre-diabetic or even a type 2? From reading about my own type 2 diabetes, it’s not so much a lack of insulin, rather a “resistance”, it doesn’t make sense to me to shoot insulin when I’ve got plenty, my body just wasn’t using it right, but then again there are many things in this world that no longer make sense to me.
Five hours after this meal of whole grain turkey sandwich, fruit cup of peaches, and baked chips, her blood glucose reading was 81. The nurse said “It’s dropped an awful lot, you might want to eat something to bring it back up.”.
REALLY???? As a type 2, I pointed out to the nurse that 81 is really a good number, asked my loved one “Are you hungry?” she said “no”, and I was promptly asked if I worked in the medical field. I told him “no, I don’t work in the medical field, but I’m a type 2 diabetic, diagnosed in 2007”. “What’s your A1c?” he asked “5.4” I replied. “Well, you’re not diabetic, 7.0 is good diabetic control.”
I wanted to tell him that I’ve been through all the hoopla of higher A1c (s), lived with my prescriptions and often still elevated blood sugars while following dietary advice to eat whole grains instead of white, but he didn’t have time to listen, brushed me off because I must be some sort of loon who knows nothing (Jon Snow) because I do not work in the medical field…
It’s been close to 14 years since I’ve been hospitalized, the birth of our youngest, and as recent as back then, chips were not on the menu. What has happened that made “chips” a healthy alternative to say a salad, a serving of green beans, or even broccoli for goodness sake? Has hospital food service gotten so lazy that they seriously order chips and fruit cups to be part of the regular menu, even for pre- or full blown diabetics?
Don’t get me wrong, people can eat what they want to eat. If you want to eat a bag of chips with a bag of cookies and a 44 ounce soda, call it a meal, that’s your business. In a hospital though, the patient really has no choice in the matter.
It’s a damned shame that places like hospitals serve patients “junk food” and call it the “heart healthy meal”. Is it not bad enough that the “sack lunch” alternative in school is an “uncrustable” pb&j with chips, an apple, and no fat sugar enriched chocolate milk? (Don’t get me wrong, the apple is fine, it’s the rest of the crap that makes me bat poo crazy…)
One more thought before I get dressed and head to Nashville on this beautiful sunny day to sit in a waiting room… Low fat, no fat, hearthealthy labels, think about them and ask yourself as a whole, are we more healthy now than we were back in the day when we just threw together some ingredients and cooked real whole food? Are the minutes here and there saved by choosing a bag of this or can of that, really worth the time we can potentially lose in the end?
I was asked a question by this loved one over the weekend, “Aren’t you glad you lost all that weight and got healthy? You don’t have to worry about strokes and such.” My reply was “I’ve learned that the number one cause of death is just being born. Losing weight and fighting my diabetes does not make me immortal, it just makes me feel better. One day, I will die, until then though, I’m going to live as much as I can and just not worry about death.”