A Room with a View, Practice makes for a Puree Diet, and in Search for Chocolate Mousse

On my third day in the ICU, I was transferred to another floor- one considered to be a step below ICU due to the fact my blood pressure and vitals remained stable/good. As I was wheeled into my new room, I noticed I now had three large windows whereas the room I had come from had had none. The sun was shining in my room and I remember thinking, “This is where I am supposed to be! It’s in this room that I will show my growth and ability to function outside the hospital environment.” That night, I couldn’t sleep well (due to being checked on every 2 hours) so I practiced swallowing water/ice ever time the nurse came in to do vitals and conduct an abridged mini-mental status exam. At 6am I informed my nurse (who was wonderful btw) that she needed to leave a message for the speech therapist that I was ready to show her I could swallow water and that I was ready to attempt to swallow applesauce. The speech therapist came in around 9/10am and I successfully swallowed a large gulp of water and applesauce as well. I was beyond ecstatic it’s pretty crazy how something like swallowing successfully could make me so happy, but it sure did (taking a sponge bath that day came in a close second for invoking happiness). When I asked her if I could be considered for discharge given that I had met her expectations, she said she would check about d/c and get back to me. When she returned to my room, she said she had both good and bad news. Good news: I was being put on a puree diet. Bad news: I couldn’t be considered for discharge until Monday (meaning two more days in the hospital). My good news, however, turned out to be more like bad news because what one can eat on a puree diet is minimal (i.e., jello, pudding, broth, applesauce, yogurt, etc)…all the foods that I dislike. So, as my mom and JJ were leaving to have dinner at a fabulous Italian restaurant where they have the best gnocchi, I was settling for beef broth and an orange sherbet push pop. Oddly enough, the one thing that I could eat that I was craving was chocolate mousse. It’s odd because I haven’t eaten chocolate mousse since I was a kid, but that’s the only thing I wanted (that I could eat on my restricted diet). Lucky for me, a sweet friend went on a man hunt for chocolate mousse and came bearing gifts. Chocolate mousse never tasted so good.

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