The $5000 chicken nugget

My teenage son was NOT hungry.  That should have been our first warning sign. 

He complained about an upset stomach and the usual remedies did not help.  Within an hour he was doubled over in pain and we could not figure out why. 

My wife Carol asked him again, “Are you SURE you didn’t eat something strange at school today?”

“Well I was really hungry after swimming and I ate a couple of those leftover chicken nuggets from the car.” 

My jaw dropped when I realized what happened.  Just a couple of chicken nuggets that were left in a warm car since yesterday! We immediately headed to the hospital to treat him for food poisoning.

Poor kid… he couldn’t even stand up straight because of the pain, but it really wasn’t his fault. I was guilty for forgetting that takeout box under the front passenger seat.  I grew up being taught not to waste food, and I brought home the leftovers. I was also taught to respect the food temperature danger zone, and this was a gross violation that would land me in food safety jail if there was one.

After 4 hours at the hospital with my son being poked, prodded, pain-killed and x-rayed, the doctor finally bet on food poisoning (as opposed to an appendix rupture or something more sinister.)  And after helping him “expel” the contents of his stomach… he got better.

I felt better too, until I saw the bill a few weeks later.  A big chunk (no pun intended) was covered by insurance, but we racked up $5000 in charges during that 4 hours.  Not that the money is more important than the health of our child, but that’s a pretty hefty tab for eating a bad chicken nugget.

The point is this… it’s not the price, it’s the value.  We all learned a very good lesson that day and things could have been a lot worse.  So the next time you learn an expensive lesson, let it help you not to repeat it.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct.”

Chicken nuggets, $3…

Hospital stay, $5000…

Knowing your son will never eat bad food again… priceless.

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3 Comments on “The $5000 chicken nugget”

  1. David J Says:

    I remember when this happened! Poor guy, that was a terrible way to learn about food safety.

    Then again, he did claim to see the Virgin Mary in his “expelled” stomach contents. You say “terrible food poisoning”, I say “religious experience.”

  2. Richard Lee Knight II Says:

    Well…my stomachs ability to take on just about anything is near legend.

    I routinely eat sandwiches that have been left out all day…even with mayo on them…drives my wife crazy!

    My best story happened a few years ago; went to a lunch with my business partner…a bar not far form the office. So, just eating Pub food from a totally run down place is enought to turn some peoples stomach…got a big ol’ club sandwich…lots of mayo…could only eat about half and when we got back to wok I put it on my desk. Problem was I forgot to transport it to the fridge and it stayed on the desk all knight long! I didnt come in till about lunch time the next day and was famished…only to be warmly greeted by the other half of my ‘club’ sandwich. I sat down to eat and my partner comes walking in and nearly fell over. He couldn’t beleive I was eating that sandwich…he saw it there when he came in that morning and thought there would be no way I would eat it…but eat it I did. It was as good the second time as the first!

    Now, I am not advocating this kind of behaviousr for the weak of heart…errr…stomach. Been eating this way since I was knee high to grasshopper, as they say.

    Growing up my dad and I would eat raw hamburger as we were preparing dinner; raw potatoes…etc.

    For those of you who are not professionally trained in the art of eating raw foods or un-refrigerated foods, beware…


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