When we were in hospital, days that Luke was working dinner time was sometimes our only family time. If we didn’t take the time to do that, we were all just ships passing in the night.
Luke works 3 shift times, starting at 5.30am, 7am or 9am, mostly the 5.30am & 7am.
For us the best way to manage overnights in hospital, sometimes for weeks, was for Luke to do nights in hospital, so I could do school and daycare run in the mornings, then head back into the hospital to manage Matthew’s care.
I would rush in keeping everything crossed that I hadn’t missed the doctors on their rounds. Matthew’s team had been with him since he was 9 weeks old, conversations with them were sometimes the most important ones of the day.
But because they were trying to be supportive, if I missed them, they wouldn’t check in again for the rest of the day, unless something super urgent happened.
If I couldn’t be there nurses would say “I’ll get them to call you.” They almost never did.
So that is how my day went, up with Shane and Mackenzie, daycare and then school (because if I did it the other way Mackenzie would have a giant melt down), then into the hospital, rush up to Matthew’s floor. Make sure someone knew I was there, and then make breakfast and a hot chocolate in the pantry or parent’s room.
Then wander in and out talking with the teams, some days squeezing in a run or some on the floor exercise, visits to other patients etc. At 2pm I’d be hoping I could get some one to do the pick-ups for me especially if I hadn’t seen all the teams, then later think about dinner.
What we rapidly discovered that between parking and meals, the costs of being in hospital 50% of the time added up, we also begun to get sick of the sight of the meals that were on offer in the food court. The same meals day in, day out for five years.
So we began to get creative. Going broke or bankrupt wasn’t part of our plan.
Our ward parent’s rooms offered a fridge (sometimes a freezer), a kitchenette and a microwave. Downstairs near the kids playground, was BBQs. So those were our options for cooking.
Microwave or BBQs.
Had I just been cooking for myself, I would have defrosted single serve frozen meals, often gifted, sometimes I made myself when I was home. But the kids and hubby never did warm up to that really and when defrosting 4 meals, time starts to get away from you.
We began to develop a list of meals we could cook in hospital, so it was almost the same as having a dinner at home together.
I’ll share a few of those dishes but today, a recommended buy:
From Woolworths for $10;
You can make up to 4 cups of cooked rice in the Decor Microsafe® 2.75L Rice Cooker. The rice cooker comes with a handy measuring cup and rice paddle. Other features include the red steam release vent and safe-hold handles that stay cool to the touch.
There was a beautiful Asian couple that brought in their actual rice cooker, but this was frowned upon and the nurse in charge often told them off for it. I’m not sure they ever got the message.
But this plastic microwave container was perfect!
I included a photo of a meal completely cooked at the hospital, lamb chops, and mixed veggies. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but most often, that is exactly what you wanted when you’ve been in hospital for a while.
The lamb chops we cooked on the BBQ, while I cooked the potatoes then the veggies in this ‘rice cooker.’
Another dad – a Cambodian man, cooked his rice in it every day, and had a couple of these to cook the accompaniments.
Cheap, safe and convenient.
We kept any leftovers in it, or washed it and kept it in our cupboard in Matthew’s room.