In the adjacent room Mrs. Scharf sceamed, “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I’ve just come out of soy-gery! Noyce! Noyce!”
The nurse told her to stop yelling and noted that here in the Hospital for Special Surgery all the patients have just come out of surgery. This argument cut no ice whatsoever with Mrs. Scharf, however, who kept it up the whole day long.
At dawn on the second day after surgery they gave Mrs. Henry two Vicodin (codeine) followed by a can of “creamy milk chocolate Ensure, complete, balanced nutrition.” To the medical profession it may be complete, but Ensure did not offer much nourishment. Its foul taste and texture ensured instant regurgitation.
Poor Mrs. Henry had a bumpy ride that day, but after she refused both the medication and the hospital diet, she began to improve. Throwing himself into the breach, Mr. Henry prepared a dinner that she could find palatable and easy to digest.
What is your go-to comfort food after a bad day in the operating theater?
For Mrs. Henry it is miso soup, soft tofu, white rice (with umeboshi) and broiled Arctic char. She felt better within minutes. For breakfast he made her a compote of white nectarines eaten with cottage cheese and crackers. They released her the next afternoon.
The list of ingredients for Ensure defies exaggeration:
Water, corn maltodextrin, sugar (sucrose), milk protein concentrate, canola oil, soy protein concentrate, corn oil, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), short-chain fructooligosaccharides, potassium citrate, whey protein concentrate, magnesium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate, soy lecithin, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride…
That is only half the list. The remaining ingredients have really complicated names.
Ensure may well be parody-proof, but its use in hospitals is positive proof of the commercial might of America’s corn and soy agro-industrial complex. To Mrs. Henry, and to anyone who eats a sensible diet, Ensure tastes like poison. Why can’t hospitals figure this out?
Friends brought baskets of goodies. Stinky baked delicious too-many blueberry muffins. Kim sent a gift basket from E.A.T. including a silver bell shaped like a Southern belle (get it?) which Mrs. Henry now rings every eight to nine minutes. The physical therapist is on his way over to treat her bell-ringer’s elbow.