Patient Profile: The Food Collector
-Ketchup packets, bottles of water, half eaten cookie packages, a piece of pie in a container, little packages of salt & pepper: Nursing Priority #1 – Move these….Nursing Priority #2 – Assess your patient
-Your patient wants to report something terrible another staff member did to them. As you rush into the room a million thoughts race through your head: Did someone hurt them? Who’s doing this to my patient? When did this happen?…..In a panic you ask, “What’s going on?” Your patient then goes on to tell you how the tech she had last night threw her half used strawberry jam container & the opened pack of stale graham cracker crumbs into the garbage when she went to sleep. You say nothing, turn around, & walk back out of the patient’s room.
-For no apparent reason, this Full-Coded Hoarder of All Things Edible & Insignificant, decides that they aren’t taking their blood pressure meds today. As they sit there, calmly clicking through the TV channels with a blood pressure of 201/87, it’s kind of ironic that you’re the one who looks most likely to stroke out. For this situation? Bribery works. Just grab a few crusty old tartar sauce packets out of the fridge in exchange for a few digested pills & you’ve got yourself a deal!
-Patient belonging bags 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5. Why is this patient discharging with the entire contents of the 5th floor kitchenette?
-It’s Sunday! The day your patient’s enablers come to visit! There’s now a teetering tower made of box upon box of girl scout cookies that threatens to kill you both if one wrong move is made……….
-How dare you try to use that tray table to rest your meds & syringes for the time being while you hang that IV!?
-It’s time to give your little Food Collector a roommate. But not so fast! The new roommate’s bed has long been covered with the products from a wholesale food shopping spree. Cases of bottled water, a giant bag of tortilla chips, trail mix?! What the f*ck is going on in here?!
-The call light goes off. You can be heard saying, “For the last time, No! None of these empty rooms or their closets can be rented out to store food!”…..”Nothing in this hospital can be rented out for food storage!”
-This patient’s care plan starts out with a series of steps of how to organize & discharge all of the patient’s food collection way before it ever talks about what to do with the actual patient.
-You say out loud, “No, I don’t have any packets of Splenda in my pocket!” You say in your head, “Because I’m not crazy like you!”
-When this patient asks for a pack of cookies now & one for later, you translate that into, “Two more packs of cookies to be tossed into her pile.” You finally tell this patient, “I cannot give you anymore cookies until you finish the stack on your table. Your patient sits silent, devastated, & begins to scheme.
-It’s 3am & your patient is laying in pop-corn again….
-You & the CNA both say at the same time, “I wonder what their house looks like?”
-The guy at McDonald’s forgot the ketchup for your fries again! You spend the next half an hour plotting how to sneak into your patient’s room & steal a few packets of ketchup from her tray table.
-You noticed that the tower of graham crackers on the nightstand was looking a little less towering? 2 hours later the CNA’s relay to you that the missing crackers were found, “you know where,” during the last Code Brown clean up and should now be referred to as, “Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers.”