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Ah, humour, you haven't abandoned me

To those of you who responded to my last post, thank you. You helped, A LOT. But no more on that right now...

Last night at work, I was taking my break visiting with the staff on the third floor when one of the ICU nurses was about to get on the elevator. She wasn't looking when the door opened, and when she went to get on it, she was startled by the presence of a stretcher sitting there all by itself. This, of course, was at 3 in the morning and so it was quite funny, and led to one of the nurses saying something to the effect of "all of the sudden the beds started appearing". She said it sounded like the beginning to a story, so I wrote it for her.

What's beneath the cut is 3am nursing humour and it was something I desperately needed after the past couple of days I've had. So, please have a look and hopefully a smile or two.

The Night of the Living Beds

*~*

And just like magic, the beds began to appear. Old ones, new ones, decrepit ones thought long hidden in dusty basements. Even some with cranks — now we knew those were old. But how, we wondered, did a lone bed find itself on an elevator in the middle of the night? It was a mystery to be sure. One that we were determined to solve by the end of our shift.

The first bed, then, was odd. A distraction. Something to giggle about in the hours when absolutely everything is funny, whether it be a pair of argyle socks or the odd looking bump on the head of the patient who fell out of bed earlier. But when the second bed appeared, lumbering on its wheels up a staircase, we began to worry.

What dark magic held this ancient place within its evil clutches? For surely beds just don’t move about by themselves. But we nurses, we know how to use our eyes, our skills of observation, and though we longed to disbelieve what we saw, not a one of us could deny it.

When the stretcher crawled out of the ceiling vent, we knew we were in trouble. It narrowly missed one of us, caught unawares in a darkened hallway on the hourly rounds. Her scream brought us all to her side, where she stood, hand over her heart, breathless and wide-eyed as she stared in horror at the wheeled menace which nearly killed her.

At this point, our leader called security. The Yellow Jacket arrived promptly, out of breath, rather grey in the face and obviously diaphoretic. We sat him down, where the addition of a bit of oxygen did wonders for the poor fellow’s colour, and he related to us a harrowing tale.

Beds, stretchers, even cribs had taken St. Joseph’s hostage. The emergency room nurses had fallen first, herded by their once innocuous stretchers into the secure room, where they were locked away. The banging on the walls and the blood curdling screams could be heard all over the first floor, but the villainous stretchers refused to release them.

Daycare fell second, followed closely by pediatrics. The two nurses there found themselves locked in cribs spinning in place at mock two. A chilling echo of childish laughter filled the air in their dim corner of the hospital.

Second floor and obstetrics didn’t know what hit them. Led by the cunning Go-Beds and assisted by some quick-thinking laundry carts, second floor’s sleep surfaces first cast out their patients and then trapped everyone in a heap in room 207.

And now, it seemed, it was our turn. Intensive care next door was ominously quiet, and we feared they too had succumbed. But we had something the other units hadn’t — knowledge. We knew what the beds wanted, and we quickly plotted our defense.

It was a comfort to learn that the broda chairs were against the siege. They had a long-standing rivalry with the beds, for a bottom in bed was a bottom not in a broda, and once their representative — an elderly chair missing its footrest — approached us with an offer to help, we quickly brought them into the fold.

With haste, we got our patients out of their soon-to-be-traitorous beds and into the laps of our new friends the brodas. With them safely tucked away beneath lap restraints and well-secured tables, we nurses were free to focus on saving ourselves from the impending assault.

We gathered weapons. IV poles, wheelchairs — whose views of the beds were similar to those held by the brodas — bedside tables, even plastic cutlery. This would be an epic battle, but we were ready.

An eerie silence befell the third floor, and we knew the time was nigh. We stood in solidarity, holding our collective breath as we waited for the attack. Only the quiet tick, tick, tick of the hallway clocks marred the unsettling calm.

A shrill alarm pierced the air and an instant later, elevator doors burst open, ceiling tiles fell, and stairways erupted with hordes of our beddish enemies. They were vicious. Relentless. How a bed could snarl, we did not know, but they did. Oh, they did.

Strategically placed piles of linen kept the beds in the rooms out of the fight for now, though one of the more adventurous beds — a youngster we were trialing — managed to make it over the barrier to joint its compatriots. We held our ground, pushing their buttons, pulling their cords, bashing them with IV poles, and setting their breaks whenever we thought we could risk a foot.

We battled them long into the night, sadly losing one of our number to a Go-Bed daring enough to charge the line. But they were weakening, we could see it in their wheels — for where else would we see signs of defeat in a wheeled enemy without eyes? The room beds had given up, falling back into place and ceasing their endless cycle of rising up and lowering down in a last-ditch attempt to distract us. The stretchers who had formed the first wave lay on their sides, missing rails, bearing torn and shredded mattresses. Even the Go-Beds were beginning to falter.

We were winning. We could taste victory. If we could just hold out a little longer—

The sound of wheels rolling quickly down the hall sent a chill of fear through our chests. Surely they had not found reinforcements? The original army we could take, but a fresh regiment of eager soldiers we could not. But when the leader of the brodas rolled around the corner, followed by its trusted friends — grinning patients obviously having a grand old time on board — we breathed sighs of relief. Once again, the brodas had come to our rescue!

Between our two groups, we took out the last of the beds, sending the final whimpering creature back down the elevator from whence it came, missing its headboard and two prongs of its power cord. As the five unoccupied brodas rolled up behind us, we collapsed into them, suddenly weary.

It was a long, gruelling night, once which brought us no more than a few stolen minutes of rest. For although the beds were defeated, the task lay ahead of us of freeing the victims of the other floors. We shuddered to think what had happened in psychiatry, but we knew, as They Who Fought the Beds and Won, it was our duty to save our fallen comrades.


I tell you this as a cautionary tale, to remind those who may grow complacent, that the danger of beds should never be forgotten.


*~*

A broda is a type of chair that's kind of a recliner on wheels, which we can safely place patients who are at risk of wandering/getting lost or falling down because they are too confused to understand that they can't get out of bed on their own.

A Go-Bed is a brand of bed that's more or less the best beds we have, even if they are old.

My husband wondered if the garbage bins participated in the fracas (his word) or if they just stood on the sidelines, trash talking.

I said that I'm glad the diaper bins didn't join in, 'cause that would have been crappy.

Comments

aerintine
Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
ode to nursefic
hahaha :D

i had images in my brain pan of swarms of our baby bassinettes rolling around like a tween gang, chucking diapers from their little drawers at unsuspecting heads.

on behalf of all of us who've had some mind-bending nights surrounding this, our latest full moon, i raise my stethoscope to you in solidarity, twirling it in the air and whooping a warrior cry.

wee hour gigglefests are the best.
abelina
Dec. 3rd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: ode to nursefic
Oh I absolutely LOVE that visual! I thought of tons more things to add in after, but decided to leave it as it was written (aside from a few slight edits because, hey, 3am).

I shall join you in your stethoscope waving!

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