LETTER: The inedible muffin

Reader Ralph Friesen writes about the snack he was served in the hospital.

Recently I had a “procedure” (colonoscopy) at Kootenay Lake Hospital. All went well. All the nurses and doctors were personable, friendly and efficient. Bed clean, blanket warm. If it had been a spa, I would have given it a five star review.

During the procedure itself, I was not conscious, in that eerie state of total blotto that only a general anesthetic can produce. I awoke to a symphony of gently passing gas — my own, and whoever else was in the recovery room behind drawn curtains. Relief!

As a reward for being such brave soldiers, patients are offered a little snack afterwards. The preparation for a colonoscopy, as most of you will know, requires a period of fasting. (It requires other things, too, but let’s keep our focus.)

I was pretty hungry, salivating a bit. A muffin and a stick of cheese and a little box of juice sat on my tray. The muffin was wrapped in clear plastic, which I removed before taking a bite. I chewed. Or should I say, I made chewing motions, for I did not actually encounter any chew-able substance. It was more like paste, or glue. It stuck to the roof of my mouth. After a few minutes of this, I was able to swallow the stuff, but did not feel encouraged to try another bite. I looked at the printing on the wrapper: the “muffin” was provided by Sysco. From Toronto.

I ate the cheese and washed it down with juice. The cheese was produced by Kraft, and came in its own nifty little plastic package. It tasted kind of like cheese, yes, and I was able to chew it. I forgot to look to see where it came from.

Okay, so in terms of stories of personal suffering, this one is pretty pale, eh? Kind of like a Senator going on about cold Camembert. Nevertheless, there is a larger issue. A hospital service, presumably, takes an interest in the well-being of patients. Why serve bad, non-nutritious, non-local food? I’m pretty sure I know the answer. “It’s cheaper.” That’s what the IHA would tell us, yes? But do we know this to be really true?

Anyway, all of you who might be wondering when you’ll schedule that colonoscopy your doctor recommended — go ahead and do it. You don’t have to eat that muffin.

Ralph Friesen


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