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Before I move on to the fourth (and final) installation of my
observations on my stay in the hospital, I’d like to take a minute to
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The final observation I’m going to make (for now) is on nutrition services. And before you jump to conclusions, this isn’t an “I hate hospital food” diatribe, I promise!
I found that the cheeriest, happiest, most obliging staff that I encountered were the nutrition staff. Every time they brought a meal, they had smiles on their faces, laughed, called me “sweetheart,” and wanted to make sure I didn’t need anything else. I didn’t actually get breakfast the first morning I was admitted, and when the lady came to take my tray, she asked if someone had already taken it. I said “Oh, no, I didn’t get anything to eat.” She looked shocked and rushed off to find me a tray. She wouldn’t stop apologizing, and I kept telling her not to worry, that I was really okay!
They always seemed so worried that I was going to be disturbed by their presence, and while I never was, it was sweet to know that they were worried about bothering me. They’d always say “I’m so sorry to bother you, but are you finished with your tray?” If I were sleeping or trying to rest, they would quietly come in and take it without waking me, and they were the only ones who made a point to try not to wake me up.
My only complaint was that although I was on a full, unrestricted diet, and should have gotten to choose my meals from a set menu, I never did. I don’t know whose responsibility that was, but I kept wishing that I had gotten to choose chicken instead of pork, or tea instead of coffee. I know that I could have asked the nutrition staff if I could get something else, but because they were so nice I actually was concerned about bothering them! Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a hugely picky eater, and would eat the majority of whatever they served, but it would have been nice to choose.
And yes, the food wasn’t stellar; I wouldn’t choose to eat that food again, but to be honest it could have been a lot worse. I was actually in the hospital for Thanksgiving, and they brought up a turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, carrots, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. It wasn’t the best Thanksgiving feast I’ve ever had, but it made me smile. They had made the effort to give those of us who were sick and in the hospital on a day we should be with our families a little bit of comfort and tradition, and that was all I could really ask for.
So to everyone who works behind the scenes in patient care…whether you’re working in nutrition, environmental services, registration, maintenance, or housekeeping…thank you for what you do. Giving me a Thanksgiving meal, leaving a flower in my room after cleaning it, and trying not to disturb me while I was resting are all small things, but they did not go unnoticed, and they will be remembered.
I suppose that the moral of this story is that…things don’t always go as planned in the medical field. Not every patient is treated the “textbook way” by the doctors or nurses, and there is certainly no rest for the weary as an inpatient. But I can certainly say that the things I have experienced during my time in the hospital will make me a better provider. I know that years from now I may become tired, a bit cynical, and maybe even jaded or burnt out; but I do hope that I can remember what it feels like to be a scared, anxious patient who only wants some answers, some rest, and to go home to her own bed.
As always, thoughts from your perspective as a patient or provider would be much appreciated! Thanks for reading and keeping up with this whole series, and I can’t wait to hear your feedback!
Stay safe out there,