Is This You? Hospital food |

Is This You? Hospital food

Trina Machacek

So I was recently in a hospital room visiting and a person, who we’ll call “the main eventer” because “patient” sounds so sickly, was getting attention from the staff of minions who scurry about when there are needs that need to be tended to. That’s a roundabout way of saying it was time to do vitals, meds and other hospital stuff. At the same time a gal stopped by from the kitchen to fill out the next day’s menu for the main eventer.

This is quite a big deal it seems, this menu planning. I can see that. When you’re in a bed in the hospital and you get attention from anyone who isn’t wanting to poke or prod or do some other unmentionable thing to you, you’re more than happy to comply with their requests! So the gal stands at the door and I, as a visitor, stopped talking and moved toward the wall. That’s what happens when you visit a main eventer in the hospital, you shift toward the wall when there’s about to be some sort of hospital medical event performed. This event was the filling out of the menu for the next day’s meals.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been a main eventer in a hospital or how long it has been since you visited someone who was, but I was amazed at this process. The last time I was in a hospital I remember having a tray of brown stuff, a plastic fork and spoon and the ever present green Jell-O, all so yummy.

But in this hospital there were no less than three to five choices in several categories to choose from. For breakfast there were five juices, four different cold cereals, and a choice of different fat-laden milks. Then fruit, hot breakfast stuff with or without three choices of meats. Lastly toast — or bagel, muffin, and she went on and on. Then she moved onto the extensive lunch and impressive dinner menus.

About halfway through the dinner menu, which was way more than just asking beef or chicken, I just couldn’t keep quiet any longer. Imagine that, me needing to say something extra!

Now in the tiny room there was the main eventer in the bed, the gal reading off the nearly never-ending list of meal choices, an RN, aka the nurse, doing nurse things on the in-room computer, a CNA, aka nursing assistant, attending to the bedding of the patient, and, of course, yours truly. I spout off the list of choices really makes a mockery out of the old standby of getting asked, “What’s for dinner?” Well, that got the ball rolling.

There was a grand round of giggles and then an audible groan from knowledgeable heads who have heard that question more times than there are lights on Broadway! The nurse kind of snorted and said she no longer even asked. She said her kids got food set in front of them and if they didn’t want it, too bad. It was that “eat or go hungry” theory. She said they usually ate.

The CNA said there was no way she would ever offer choices to her kids. She even said they don’t even get a choice when they get fast food. Her voice of experience said after spending an unruly and infuriating few times in a car at a drive-through with three kids all trying to decide what to have and outdo the other kids and then change their little minds at the last minute while she was trying to talk to the box — well, rather quickly she became the dictator and decided for everyone what the meals were going to be!

Soon the conversation died down enough for us all to reflect within ourselves what we thought of the other ideas we had just been privy to. I had time to remember a recent conversation I had with a new husband I know. I mentioned when he got home he should ask what’s for dinner and I laughed. So he did just that. How do I know? A few days later I ran into the bride and asked her how marriage was treating here. She smiled happily and told me that all was great, except she hadn’t gotten used to the question, “What’s for dinner?” and we both giggled. Boy howdy does she have a long, long way to go, huh?

You know, since some households are run by wives and mothers who have had to deal with this one question over years and years and they’ve come out of that decision-making mode unscathed, well, just think of how easy it would be to rule the world!

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at Really!