Monday, September 14, 2015

Hungry? Bow bow bow...

At Local Hospital, about 30 minutes before mealtime, someone from "Dietary Services" (previously known as the cafeteria) walks into a patient's room to take their order, entering it on an iPad.

Obviously, the staff hired to do this are not medical people. They're usually teenagers. Some are doing it as a job, others to get some background in hospitals for a college application, some are even volunteers doing it because their school requires community service.

Generally they're a fairly upbeat, happy, bunch. It probably beats flipping burgers and asking "do you want fries with that?" Hell, some days I wish I had that kind of enthusiasm for my job.


I was on call this past weekend, and yesterday morning saw a sweet old lady, who'd suffered a stroke the night before. Her language function was limited to saying "yes."

After examining her I sat down at the station to review her tests and dictate a note. The nurse came over and we talked about my orders.

As we chatted, one of the perky cafeteria staff went into the room and began her spiel.

Miss Chipper: "Hi, Mrs. Broca. I'm from dietary services. Would you like scrambled eggs for breakfast?"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "We also have vegetable omelets today. You want one of those, too?"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "Pancakes?"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "My, you're hungry today!"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "We have plain, chocolate chip, and blueberry pancakes. Any of those sound good?"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "How about I bring you one of each?"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

The nurse and I were hysterical, leaning against the wall and each other, trying not to start cackling aloud. She bit her tongue. 

Miss Chipper: "We have turkey bacon and sausage."

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "I'll get you a little of each. Would you like coffee?"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

The nurse and I are envisioning this immense Las-Vegas-buffet sized cart being pushed up to the room.

Miss Chipper: "Now, for juice, we have apple, tomato, orange, and prune."

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "You like them all? Is one of each okay?"

Mrs. Broca: "Yes."

Miss Chipper: "Do you want sugar and creamer in your coffee?"

The nurse couldn't take it anymore. With tears running down her face from laughing, she called Miss Chipper out and explained the situation to her.

It was a while before I was able to dictate a note.


Anonymous said...

So what DID the poor woman get for breakfast?!

Powers said...

The poor patient! She must have been panicking inside.

Anonymous said...

Wait'll Miss Chipper waits on a patient with severe Tourette's- that should wipe that damn perkiness clean off her face.

Anonymous said...

Probably all the left column items... at least she was asked
to choose. Mrs Wernicke, on the other hand, would have had to have three forms of salad...

Anonymous said...

I can also see a dark side to this patient's dilemma of being stuck on a default "yes". "Mrs. Broca, do we have your consent to perform this low-yield, high risk medical procedure on you?".

Anonymous said...

Whelk Lad! said...

"Oh, and what's your favorite progressive rock band?"

a.generic doc said...

I dated a woman who had the opposite problem. She could only say NO! And she hadn't even have a stroke

Ms. Donna said...

a.generic -- did she say that to all the docs? ;-) Poor lady -- if she knew the problem, and could comprehend what was happening, she must have been frantic. What did she get to eat?

clairesmum said...

Gotta go with the humor when it happens!

HeroHog said...

Ok, fine, I'll say it "Rubber Biscuit!"

Anonymous said...

I had an aphasic encephalopathic patient crash on me and called the code. I told ALL OF THEM (the code people) that a) she was completely aphasic except for inappropriate 'yes' and 'hmm' to any and all questions; b) she was encephalopathic and not oriented to anything or anyone; c) she was completely hemiplegic on one side, and weak on the other. But then the code people, each one, yelled at her for several minutes each, questions such as MRS X CAN YOU TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? HOW DO YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW? CAN YOU MOVE YOU ARMS AND LEGS FOR US?

Now, normally yelling at a patient doesn't make their aphasia any better (guess how I learned). Also, I gave them the full story multiple times and was dismissed as 'just a dumb neurology resident'. So I didn't feel any sympathy for them, but made sure the poor lady got some painkiller topups for her inevitable headache. As well as all of our ward nurses and myself.

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