About

About

Welcome to my blog! I am a writer, photographer, food/ prop stylist and film maker. You can find recipes, photos, blog posts, films and videos here.

Please follow me on instagram @loveleluu & subscribe here for blog posts. Thank you so much for visiting this page x

Food Styling & Photograhy

My Photography Work

Supper Club

Supper Club

The supper club is held in my home in London Fields, Hackney. It is like a dinner party in the tradition of a Vietnamese feast with homemade Vietnamese food.

Classes

Classes

Vietnamese food is about the balance of flavours, of sweet, salty and sour – there is no measuring device that can ever match your own taste buds.

Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

A Night In Homerton Hospital

The other day, I was reading this amazing post by Uncle Typewriter, written from a Reverb prompt – what would you do if you had only this month to live. I read and cried. On the same day, I was immediately admitted to hospital due to some serious kidney infection.

For the first time in my life, I stayed in hospital with an IV needle stuck in my left hand, in a ward next to sick old ladies. I spent the night in pains, “spiking” as the nurses put it and wondering what they would find in my blood, my X Rays, Ultrasounds and various tests, facing my own mortality. What if they told me I only had one more month to live.

I am a real cry baby when it comes to illness. I am very bad at being ill, I can never be strong, I just cry and feel sorry for myself like nobody’s business.

The night was rough, not only was I in a lot of pain but I was also terrified and it didn’t help when the loud mouth gossipers/ nurses kept talking, slamming doors, turning alarms and machines on and off, dropping everything, throwing metal bowls and all sorts for the course of the night. And she was the boss.

When I had told her I was in pain, she continued to read her book and giggled with the cleaning lady. I was mortified but just got on with shivering and being in pain. There was no one else to tell.

They were so unfriendly towards all the other women, “let me do my job,” then a long sucking tut, “just let me do my job” making the patients freak out even more, like they are worthless for asking for something. A lot of the women do not speak any English and these nurses just have no patience, with the elderly with dementia or other, worse conditions.

I must state though that the day nurses are polar opposites. Just really nice and friendly. You certainly do not want to be spoken to so harshly or ignored when you are ill in hospital in the middle of the night without your friends or family.

It took me 6 hours to get a jug of water in the night. The whole time, I kept asking only to be told that it was coming after they have done whatever they were doing. I kept mentioning that I wanted to wash my hands and that there was no soap in the toilet but it just got ignored and I had to keep walking to a sink outside the toilet with my IV to wash my hands, as touching the handles in there were equally as dangerous as touching a mine full of germs.

I discharged myself, after spending a day waiting and eating the worse food I have ever eaten and wondering how the hell people are meant to recover when they are given so much rubbish to eat. When you are sick, nutrition is most vital, here it is just something they give to patients secondary to all the drugs they pump you up with. It is just so that you do not die on their bed of starvation (or thirst in my case).

The doctors told me to eat when I was supposed to be Nil By Mouth for a MRI scan. I was so angry, I would have rather starve than eat the crap they gave me. This meant I would have to stay for a further 2 days, so I kicked up a fuss to be discharged. So I left, at least at home, I have soap, I have peace and quiet, and at least some fruit and water and chicken soup.

I was very lucky to be seen by doctors very quickly and to have all the tests that were given to me because i have heard so many long waiting list stories. For this, I am ever so grateful for The NHS.

I heard how terrible hospital food is but when I was presented with so many meal options, many types of fish, chicken, beef, lamb, cooked in many ways from curries to sandwiches, I had a little hope. They do have the budget to have plenty of ingredients. It was just very disappointing to be given badly made, poor quality food that have been sitting around for ages, sagging away in a plastic cap.

Is anyone going to do anything about this? Is this the next Jamie Oliver project?

Could they have less choice and better quality? Could they pay more attention to how things are cooked and if any of it has any nutritional value in them at all? My vegetable soup tasted like glue with broccoli flavouring. My chicken, probably, from a battery farm, was harder than a piece of wood, my vegetables had become plastic.

Curiosity & The Cupcake sent me this article from The Hackney Post, where they do not have any soap in the kitchens at Homerton. Just like they have no soap in the toilet.

Overall, my view is that Homerton Hospital is a place where many cultures meet and clash and there are a string of people just trying to pull it altogether. Its a sad place to be- as with any hospital, but this is really a sad sad place. The view of the doctors and nurses seem to be to get through the shift. Some patients expect a lot of the nurses and some patients appear to feel lucky with what they can get.

Its a busy busy place, where there is no unison. Its like sleeping in a busy train station. People (doctors and nurses) come and go. Patients are just like left luggage.

  • oh god Uyen it sounds awful…you poor thing!

    I read an article about a guy who blogged his long stay in hopital especially the food he was given…http://hospitalnotes.blogspot.com/

    Glad you didn’t have to stay any longer!

    x

  • Superb post. Sorry you had such a difficult time and hope you’re feeling much better.

    Heston did a programme a few weeks ago, about improving food at Alder Hay children’s hospital. If you didn’t see it, it;s well worth a view on 4od.

    Here’s a link – http://tinyurl.com/68zk3tg

    See you soon x x x

  • Poor thing, what a nightmare! very well written, I almost feel like i was there myself.
    I have (fortunately) never tried UK hospital food but this looks and sounds horrible. You don’t expect sophisticated menus, but it should really be wholesome and healthy and help you recover instead of making you sicker.

  • So sorry to hear you weren’t well. Your hospital stay sounds like a nightmare! 🙁 Hope you’re feeling a lot better now! *hugs*

    Such a shame about the food. There was a Dispatches episode about hospital food the other week by the guy who does the Notes from a Hospital Bed blog. It’s still on 4oD: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#3164059

    They’ve also got a petition you can sign here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-81/episode-1

    I can only hope I never have to spend any time in a British hospital any time in the near future!

  • @Jo

    This blog is great! Reading with great interest! thank you! xx

    @kraftwerk
    thanks. Yeah saw a bit of Heston’s show. Not sure about worms on my pizza though but at least he is bringing this issue to our attention

    @Ute
    I am going to get some private health care with my pennies. If they could just give you a wholesome soup, would be great! I missed dinner on the first night, thank God, my brother bought me something. When I asked them where my dinner was, I got a big tut, but I managed to get a sandwich.

    @Yeebot
    Thank you for this, just signed the petition and will watch. I feel like being a volunteer in the hospital kitchen, I wonder if they would have me.

  • Oh man!!! Having just gone through a similar thing (I’m in Brisbane though and the service in the hospital here sounds much much better than yours) I can TOTALLY feel your pain. I was tested and poked for almost a day before going in for surgery and coming out hours later less 12 inches of my large intestines. I agree that hospital food is awful and it’s even worse because you have to eat to get stronger again. I was discharged after a week and since I’ve been home at my parents they’ve been cooking me lots of recovery food and I am slowly getting better.

    Hope you’re ok now! xx

  • This is really horrible, I’m so sorry. And I worry our raucous night at Fernandez & Leluu made you worse 🙁

    Hospitals can either be really great in London or really terrible. I’ve been to the Royal London in Whitechapel and it was awful – someone was sick on the floor and they just put some papers on top of it. I was in a room full of old men. A really nasty experience.

    I was thinking all the way through reading it “this is the next Jamie Oliver project” – you should inspire him to start a campaign! I’d hate to think of people I love having to go through all that, especially my mum who has worked hard her whole life and deserves better.

    Hope to see you (healthier) soon x

  • I’m so sorry you went through that awful experience Uyen. Thanks for sharing and thankgoodness you are on the mend. Take care, Nx