Welcome to my website. I am the author of ‘Vietnamese – Simple Vietnamese Food To Cook At Home’. I am a photographer and film maker. You can book into my supper club, Vietnamese cooking classes, buy my book, check out my photography and lots more here.
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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.
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.