Battle of Malnutrition
The Battle of Malnutrition (8 October 1984 - 10 August 1985) is one of the most famous battles in medical history. General Emerson Diet's victory after a hard-fought 10-month-long campaign against malnourished patient Betty Tompkins has put him on the Mount Rushmore of Medical Military Heroes.
For reasons unknown, Tompkins had anorexia with poor oral intake, leading to the development of severe protein-calorie malnutrition. On October 8, 1984, General Diet began what would be an initial 5-day campaign with IV fluids, without much improvement. Despite his repeated attempts, Tompkins refused General Diet. He enlisted the help of Second Lieutenant Clear Liquids and First Lieutenant Full Liquids and their cavalry full of juices and soups. Despite the three-pronged attack, both by daylight and by nightfall, the patient refused their attempts, throwing it all up and creating a mess.
The next five months saw escalating attacks from General Diet with Tompkins always on the defensive but never caving. She rebuked attempts from Captain Soft Diet and Major Dysphagia Pureed despite their soldiers being heavily armed and specially fitted with eggs, grits, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, and infrared goggles. Even when Captain Soft Diet and Major Dysphagia Pureed told their soldiers that they can "salt and pepper liberally," Tompkins' position held strong and needed more emesis basins than ever.
On April 10, 1985, General Diet finally saw a crack in the armor. Lieutenant Colonel PPN was able to infiltrate Tompkins right arm with the help of Major PICC and over the next few weeks, Tompkins nutritional status improved. May 3, 1985 was a turning point: Tompkins began negotiations with Second Lieutenant Clear Liquids. The summer saw Tompkins negotiating a rapid succession of truces with General Diet's commanders. By July 31, 1985, Tompkins had negotiated peace treaties with Second Lieutenant Clear Liquids, First Lieutenant Full Liquids, Captain Soft Diet, Major Dysphagia Pureed, and Lieutenant Colonel PPN.
On August 3, 1985, Lieutenant Colonel handed leadership over to Colonel TPN, with whom Tompkins struck a wonderful rapport.
At 6:45 AM on August 10, 1985, General Diet took charge and assaulted Tompkins with an unrelenting barrage of eggs, home fries, and toast for breakfast; a turkey sandwich, potato chips, banana, and a Coke for lunch; and a hamburger with cheese, fries, apple, and key lime pie for dessert. At 5:15 PM with victory imminent, Colonel TPN and Major PICC withdrew their positions and fell behind General Diet's lead. At 7:55 PM on August 10, 1985, General Diet declared victory over Betty Tompkins, the latter falling into a food coma shortly after the proclamation.
General Diet's persistence and use of all the military and nutritional capacities at his disposal garnered admiration from everyone in the health care community. Well-known and respected military veteran General Frank Anesthesia calls General Diet "an elite medical soldier with unmatched dietary acumen, especially when it comes to things like sandwiches." Though the stories are not as well documented in the archives, rumors are that General Diet even consulted the help of Colonel Dobhoff, Colonel Neal Guthrie Tube, and Colonel Peter Emerson Garribaldi during the Battle of Malnutrition, though their roles were only in a limited capacity.
Today when health care providers think they may have another protracted battle against a new case of malnutrition, many will kiss a picture of General Diet and eat a graham cracker out of respect.
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