This week, a longtime nurse in the maternity ward at Our Lady of Perpetual Stress witnessed a patient devouring her evening meal.
“At first I assumed she was eating an overpriced dinner from the restaurant across the street,” said the nurse. “But I didn’t spot a single take-out container in the trash can next to her bed. Believe me, I looked!”
The veteran nurse was ready to take her first break of the day when she heard groaning sounds coming from room 347.
Assuming the woman was in pain, she rushed into her room with two extra-strength Tylenol. Instead of finding the expectant mother in agony, the 32-year-old was rubbing her stomach and smacking her lips.
The patient, a week past her due date, not only finished the main course (an indistinguishable piece of meat with a flesh-colored, congealed substance smeared on top), but she also ate the chocolate cookie designed to double as a coaster. The hospital’s new cost-saving policy dictates that all hospital food must serve more than one purpose.
“I was counting on using her sliced turkey as a mouse pad,” the still-stunned nurse commented, “but I figured she had more need for protein than I had for another desk accessory.”
The nursery, incapable of imagining anyone consuming anything from her hospital, reported the patient asking for seconds and commenting, “If I don’t have to cook, I’ll eat anything anyone puts in front of me.”
She later overheard the patient suggest to her husband that they bring the family back for Christmas dinner as it would be easier than hiring a caterer.
In complete shock over experiencing what had previously been an urban myth throughout her career, the flustered nurse rushed to the nurse’s station to spread the news about the now empty tray.
She likened seeing the woman enjoy her meal and eventually lick her plate to discovering Bigfoot in the woods or spotting aisles of Christmas decorations in June.
The latest statistics from the International Culinary Kitchen (ICK), the commission responsible for regulating hospital food, show that 3% of all hospital patients finish their meals, while 97% would rather starve or chew on a latex glove than let anything served on a hospital tray pass through their chapped lips.
Citing the HIPAA Privacy Rule and hinting at the possibility that the IRS may still be looking for her for failing to report her lofty winnings after a Las Vegas bender, the nurse could not confirm nor deny the story and asked to remain anonymous.
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About the Author
Lisa Kanarek is a freelance writer, the author of five books about working from home, and writes the work-from-home blog Working Naked. Her work has been featured on various sites including Sammiches and Psych Meds, BonBon Break, In the Powder Room, Grown and Flown, Ten to Twenty Parenting, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and MockMom. She is the mother of two sons in college and has lived in Texas half her life, but may be breaking state law by not owning a pair of cowboy boots. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.