The Last Supper
Here are my hospital meals since then, when I was suddenly upgraded from a horrible white slime set meal after an x-ray to a sumptuous Italian set meal the next day, only to be reverted to a regular meal when I was told it was a serving error.
As you can see from the photo, it has been downgraded from the normal food of the last time and looks almost like baby food. It had deteriorated to the extent that the first pure white slime set meal, with its shabby soup and mysterious paste, was only slightly colored.
I wanted to eat that miracle tomato risotto and prosciutto every day, and I would have checked the most appropriate box on the hospital food request form, but the hospital, perhaps out of consideration for my stomach, denied every my request and sent me a meal that completely ignored my wishes.
“I wonder what the point of this questionnaire is…”, I wondered, hiding my wistful thoughts that never reached the hospital side. I had no choice but to poke at the disgusting rice served in front of me and sneak in small chocolate that I hid in a drawer when I got hungry in the middle of the night.
And this is what I had for dinner the next day.
You can see from this picture that I was already desperate at the time.
“Tomato risotto and prosciutto today!” As soon as I peeled off the aluminum foil lid, the poor green landscape spread out all around. The same shabby soup as last night, with sauteed green beans that had no taste. And, to top it all off, the tasteless, odorless ricotta cheese shocked me in my first hospital meal since being hospitalized. And no fruit today.
I covered my face with my hands in dismay over a dinner that felt even less than the very first white slime set meal, and looked up to the heavens, shaking full force at the tragedy.
And what a sad fact, this all-green set meal, which I could hardly touch, would be my last supper in the hospital.
Red than white
The next morning, I woke up hungry as usual. When the nurse opened the curtains, there was a beautiful blue sky outside the window and it was so warm it was hard to believe it was February.
And before the usual Italian grandmother handing out drinks in a cart could arrive, the doctor in charge came dashing into the room.
“How are you doing?” After lightly touching my abdomen, she continued, “Okay, you can get out! I’ll give you a certificate later, and then you’re free to leave!” And then suddenly the permission to leave the hospital was announced.
I didn’t know what the heck was going on because I was suddenly allowed to leave the hospital without knowing the name of my disease, but obviously I was no longer in pain and my appetite for “food” had recovered unusually well thanks to the disgusting hospital food.
Later, I got a medical certificate from the doctor, who confirmed the results and found out that I had “hepatitis A.” Hepatitis B and C would be no laughing matter, but hepatitis A is rarely chronic and is often contracted from contaminated raw seafood and water, but when and where I contracted hepatitis A remains a mystery to me.
Feeling a little better now that the results of the tests turned out to be correct, I stretched out the wrinkles on my bed, cleaned it up, and contacted the people who had been concerned about me to report my discharge from the hospital.
Then the young nurses who changed sheets and IVs during my stay in the hospital said, “Congratulations on your discharge! Good for you!” They came all the way to my room to see me. When they saw my chart for the first time, they asked me if “Kubo(Cubo) was your last name. Seriously?” And from then on, they always call me “Cu-bo, Cu-bo!” And they liked my last name so much that they shouted.
Later, when I was looking up why they reacted so well to “cubo” in Italian, I found out that “cubo” means “cube” in Italian. I mean, they always say to me, “Cube!” And it turns out that it was shouting.
My first name is “Yurika,” which sometimes sounds like “Eureka,” depending on the intonation of the Italians. Then Cubo Eureka(actually my name is Kubo Yurika) means “Eureka! It’s a cube!” and I felt that whatever the reason, it would be beneficial to have a name that is easy for people to remember.
And the nurses are waiting at the door of my room, ready to see me off when I am ready to leave the hospital, but they have forgotten something important.
Yes, I still have a ridiculously fat IV needle stuck in one arm.
I almost cringed at the stupidity of these Italian nurses, but then I thought, “Haha! That’s right, that’s right! I totally forgot about it!” And I love them laughing so hard. I’m not sure if it’s more of an “I like them” feeling, but it’s probably more of an “I can’t hate them” feeling.
Thus, I signed the discharge papers and left this memorable hospital.
As for the hospitalization costs, I was fortunate enough to be transported to a public hospital instead of a private one, so I didn’t have to pay even €1 for my treatment.
Even though I had hepatitis A and didn’t have any special operations and didn’t need any special medicines, I was surprised that I was able to stay in the hospital for about a week, undergo various tests such as X-rays, and even get hospital food and treatment without having to pay for it, but on the contrary, as a foreigner, my heart ached a little bit when I thought that this was paid for by Italian taxpayers.
I can say “Italy saved my life” and I am very grateful to this country if they forget to take an IV needle from my arm.
Later, I went back to my home in Naviglio where my Italian landlord was waiting for me, and he greeted me gently, just as he had done the first time I came to the house. And his cat, Gatto, came over to me and immediately rubbed against my right paw as if it was waiting for me to return.
The next day, I was to leave the house and move with a friend to a different apartment in Milan, and I went back to the bedroom where I had slept until just a week ago and started packing, and Gatto, sensing my presence, lay down on my big suitcase and begrudgingly interrupted me from packing like this.
While I was busily packing in my room, the Italian landlord was preparing the last dinner for me.
When I finally finished packing, I went to the dining room with a nice aroma that started to waft through the house, a brightly colored tablecloth was spread on the table as usual, and on it came a bright red tomato pasta.
It’s hard to believe that the last time the “tragic Pasta Bianca incident” happened at this same table, but for me, this tomato pasta dish prepared by him was the best treat of my life, and the table with him and Gatto was the best memory of my life.
The story of the first time in my life I thought I was going to die in Milan, Italy (All Vol. 08)
Vol.07 Hospital Food Diary in Italy