Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

If It's a Snack, It's Fair Game

While spending so much time at Shiny Meadows, the nursing home where my dad stays, I've gotten to know several of the residents. Blanche is a family friend who is 92, the same age Dad will be on Friday. When she's feeling well, she's the absolute definition of the much-overused word "feisty."

Blanche turns her nose up at almost everything served at Shiny Meadows, even more than the often-crappy food actually deserves. Sometimes I think she’s just bored, which frustrates her, which leads her to want to say no to something. But other times I can tell, watching her, that she is truly unable to gag down what’s on her plate. She looks very depressed and pushes it away.

One reason I like Blanche so much is that she’s a snack food junkie, like me, and if there is a snack within wheelchair-rolling distance, she’ll find it. If another resident has won a Bingo snack, like a little pack of peanut butter and cheese crackers, Blanche will not hesitate to roll into their room and snatch it from the top of their dresser while they’re napping. Since the main hobby at Shiny Meadows is napping, Blanche is on a constant crime spree.

The mother lode for her, though, is not the pilfered loot from the rooms of the residents; it’s the nurse’s station. The nurses and especially the CNAs are big snackers. They push themselves through their shifts with smoke breaks and bites of junk food. The station itself is a “C” shaped counter, curving around in front of 3 rolling office chairs, a computer, a wastebasket, stacks of folders, and, more often than not, a snack. Or the remnants of a snack. If Stephanie, a regular evening CNA, for example, takes a bite or two of a granola bar, then needs to run off down the hall when a call light comes on, she might make the mistake of parking the granola bar on the desktop behind the counter. When this happens, Blanche is like an alligator on the bank of a river who has just heard a plump, juicy baby hippo splash into the water to play and rollick. Her hands begin to rotate the wheels on her wheelchair before they even make contact. Before anyone can take notice, she is behind the counter, grabs the granola bar with one hand and backs up the chair with the other. She either jams the half-eaten bar into her mouth or zooms down the hallway to her own room to devour it privately. The baby hippo never saw it coming. On the surface of the river? Nothing but a few telltale air bubbles.

Most of the CNAs have caught on to Blanche’s predator behavior. At first they were stunned and annoyed that anything they’d been eating, or were about to eat, vanished. Now they either tuck their snacks into the pockets of their scrubs, or leave them out purposely, knowing how much fun Blanche has thinking she’s gotten away with something. She maneuvers herself back into her bed, dozing off with granola crumbs on her mouth.


  • At 10:53 PM, Blogger FarmAndAway said…

    Sort of Augusten Burrough's rather disappointing book "Magical Thinking" (so, so vulgar and depressing), he refers to a friend whose maid is eating his leftovers. So the friend order shrimp something or other, hides it in his closet for two days, and puts it back in the closet. The maid calls in sick.

    I would never do that to Blanche, but I would do that to someone I didn't like who had better food sources.

  • At 11:16 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Yoiks. I haven't read ANY of Augusten Burroughs, but judging from this deeply annoying drama queen student I had, who LOVED him, I can see how he'd be depressing as hell.


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