Last month had a short stay in a local hospital following an operation.
[Note: I've decided not to mention which hospital because I feel that the problems I encountered are being addressed and things might be better in the future.]
Since I was there from early morning until late afternoon, I was asked to order breakfast - and later, lunch. This involved calling a number and telling the woman who answered what I wished to eat from the menu.
Breakfast was no big problem as I was told that I could only order clear liquids. I ordered coffee, apple juice and vegetable broth.
Lunch posed a more difficult problem. I no longer was limited to clear liquids but I had to try to find something somewhat filling but also vegan. I noted that gluten-free items were marked on the menu but not vegan. I asked the woman on the phone if the veggie burger was vegan.
"What's that?", she asked.
I sighed. I wasn't feeling very well and really didn't feel like this conversation. I told her that it's like vegetarian but we don't eat any other animal products - like dairy products or eggs.
"Oh", she said, "I don't know".
Oh. I see - she doesn't know and doesn't feel compelled to find out. I was irritated.
I went with a salad. Italian dressing on the side since she wasn't sure if it was creamy Italian or not.
The salad was rather pitiful. Mostly iceberg lettuce with some carrots, a few strands of onion and a couple pale tomato wedges. Still I was sticking to my diet so I felt good about that.
When I arrived home later, I posted about my experience on Facebook in a vegan group I am a member of. I was asked which hospital and told that their veggie burger WAS actually vegan. The person who told me this worked higher up in the same medical group and was in a position to address the issue as part of his duties. He assured me that the employees will be informed about what vegan means and on which items fit that description. He also mentioned that he had suggested that vegan items be labeled on the menu but was told it wasn't necessary. He said he would bring it up again.
So, even though my experience was not ideal, I'm pleased that the issues will be addressed so if I need to be admitted there again, I will have a better experience.
Look at that. I just became a vegan and I'm already promoting change. Not too shabby!