In the great trifle debate, I’m not an advocate of jelly being included. In fact, I’m not really a jelly person. I’m sure I ate it at parties when I was a small child, possibly may even have liked it but other than a vague memory of mashing ice cream into red jelly, turning it into a pink swirl, I don’t really remember.
My mother made a kind of milk jelly with evaporated milk and I do recall eating cubes of undiluted jelly as a teenager. We’d heard or read somewhere the gelatine it contained was good for making our nails grow strong.
As an adult I have never felt the need to eat the wibbly-wobbly stuff and would never choose it on a menu – even if it did have champagne in it or liqueur soaked raspberries. I am beginning to worry though, if the time will come – when I’m in my dotage – if I will be forced to eat the stuff again?
The reason I am worrying about this is because I’ve noticed a marked tendency for nurses to order it for the Goldfish. Like me, the Goldfish would never choose jelly for pudding. His choice would be apple pie and custard, sticky toffee pudding, syrup sponge or, if it’s a cold sweet then he’d go for banoffee pie (his favourite) or a rich chocolate mousse. Okay, I know those are not all options on a hospital menu but the sponge puddings and apple pie are. Jelly ALWAYS is.
For some reason during this hospital stay it’s been impossible to fill in the menu for the Goldfish, which means the poor man has been presented with jelly on several occasions. He doesn’t eat it.
Me: “Would you like me to fill in dad’s menu card?”
Nurse: “Already done.”
Me: “How is his appetite? Is he eating better?”
Nurse: “Well, he didn’t eat his pudding.”
Me: “What was it?”
Nurse: “Jelly and ice cream. Nice and easy for him.”
Me: “But he doesn’t like jelly.”
Nurse: “He said that was what he wanted.”
Me: “It’s in the notes we brought in for you and in the notes they made on admission for likes and dislikes.”
Nurse: “I asked him what he wanted and he said he wanted jelly.”
Me: “No, you asked him if he wanted jelly and he nodded. He has dementia. If you asked him what he wanted he wouldn’t remember the list of choices and be able to decide. He can’t make choices but he is still the polite, eager-to-please gentleman he always was and so he will nod in agreement to whatever you ask or suggest.”
She scrawls NO JELLY!! on the board above the Goldfish’s bed and vanishes down the ward, no doubt swearing about stroppy family members who seem to think they know best.