Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eating in the hospital

There aren't too many options for eating when you're working 10-12 hours a day and rushing around all day. To be honest, especially at the beginning, when I'm carrying a lot of patients, I'm so involved and busy I think my adrenaline is going all day, and I don't have much of an appetite! Even when we're at a meeting and there's food in front of me, sometimes I don't feel like eating. If you know me, you know that's unheard of - first of all, I usually have a huge huge appetite. Secondly, if there's free food, I'm there. But I power through - I make myself eat. :)

Even when there's time, and I'm hungry, one of the problems is that the only option we have is the cafeteria. Sure, you can order in or have something delivered, or take a quick 5-10 minute walk to somewhere to get some food, but all that takes more time and also costs more. The issue really is that it takes more time and that it's difficult to leave. You really have to be in the hospital at all times in case something happens to one of your patients, or to answer pages or put orders into the computer. I guess people can also bring food, but that's rare - you hardly have energy to make dinner for yourself after coming home from a 12-hour shift, much less lunch for the next day. A few people with significant others sometimes can do it. And you can do it sporadically, but it's far from common. So you are really limited to the cafeteria, and sometimes you don't even have time to go the cafeteria!

Even when you're able to make it to the cafeteria, the selections are horrible, limited, and repetitive. And the cafeteria closes down around 7:45pm, so if you are working a late shift, you have to make sure to get in early for dinner. For lunch, we don't have 5-10 minutes to wait for hot entrees to be made often (like cheesesteaks or grilled cheese sandwiches), so we often go for the quick already-prepared foods. Soup is always a good option, and inexpensive, but they go through the same soups every week so those get a little tiring. Sushi is also a good option (although it's not like it's great sushi), but it's expensive. The salad bar is actually pretty good, but it's not cheap and you can't eat salad everyday either. The hot entrees are also not cheap, are often terrible, but are very fast items to get besides soup and sushi. Other fast options include ready-made sandwiches (horrible), burgers, fries and onion rings, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and some other fried foods. The options are even more limited for dinner. Because of all these things, doctors usually end up eating horribly if they eat at all. There's a joke that doctor's are the least healthy people in the hospital.

It'll be nice when I can cook more again.

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