I spent most of my first summer as a retiree focused on zucchini. It was hard not to, as the zucchini I had planted as innocent-looking seeds grew as fast and as large as Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors.” The fruit of the plants went on to monopolize my kitchen, my freezer, my baking, and my diet. I miss all of that zucchini.
Although the plants went the way of the compost pile back in August, my freezer still contains an abundance of shredded zucchini awaiting its day in the baked-goods spotlight (zucchini bread; zucchini muffins; and a gluttony of other gluten and zucchini filled sweets).
Today is day twenty-two of my husband Phil’s hospitalization. I strongly recommend avoiding hospitalizations (particularly those in excess of seventy-two hours). If at all possible, don’t even drive on the same side of the street as a hospital. They’re just too full of germs, uncertainty, misadventure and inedible food. Things that are promoted as being edible, are not. Phil claims that the pureed food stuffs contained on his meal trays are inedible and, therefore, he does not eat them. Hospital dietary staff do make an effort with appearance (pureed indeterminate breakfast food is pressed into a mold so that it resembles a waffle – all pretense is lost as soon as a fork cuts into it and any hint of enticement – and flavor – evaporates). While the meat and carrots are pureed to a smooth mush; the mashed potatoes are lumpy. Hmmm?
The foods of Fall are supposed to be sweet and/or intoxicating. Neither sweet (unless you count artificial sweeteners, which I don’t), nor intoxicating foods are served in the hospital. If you’re really hurting, they may give you an intoxicating IV solution, but it’s hardly worth the trouble. They do not offer caregivers any options for intoxication, whether the caregiver is hurting or not. Really, they shouldn’t, because we caregivers all hope to drive away from the hospital to shower and sleep (except for those sainted caregivers who sleep in the “sleep chairs” provided in patients’ rooms).
Phil’s room overlooks I-25, and I watch as people speed by, on their way to somewhere. It’s Saturday, so I don’t think many are going to work. They’re probably awash in the ecstasy of weekend excitement. The joy of weekends was one of the perks of gainful employment (that and the paycheck). I remember the joy of retirement disorientation in which all holidays were Memorial Day. Those were the good ol’ (hospital free) days.