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After Work: The Night Nurse

...“I’m Bill and I’m your night nurse.”

He was burley in his blue scrubs. There was hair on his chest peeking over the V neckline, hair on his arms, hair on his hands. Bring on the antiseptic scrub. Right now...

Fortunately for Open Writing readers, Dona Gibbs's recent stay in hospital left her sense of humour intact.

To read more of Dona's sparkling columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/after_work/

Not long ago I was in the hospital. While that isn’t a rare occurrence for people sixty or so, it was for me. I’ve only been hospitalized twice ; once for a happy reason, giving birth and another time to treat an irregular heart beat.

This, the third time, I look upon in a somewhat bemused fashion. I now think of doctors in somewhat of the same light as I view car repairmen who work on expensive cars. You drive your car in for a checkup and the white-coated mechanic has to find something wrong. It’s his job, right? That job will usually set you back a couple of thousand or so.

Luckily, for me, there is an insurance safety net, although my timing has yet to be fixed. I still idle too fast.

Anyway, this second trip into medical wonderland left me with more questions than it answered. And I ended up feeling like a science fair project gone wrong. I’m sure many, many readers have had the same thought.

You enter the hospital with hope and trepidation. Your significant other is told to stand by or supply a telephone number.

You’re asked to change and stuff your clothes in a white plastic bag that’s put on a handy shelf under the gurney.

I sat in the holding area and listened to the staff.

The senior doctor came in and listed assignments.

“If you don’t need me, I’m outta here,” volunteered one resident.

With that kind of attitude, I’d like to be out of here myself.

He was assigned to my team.

I was wheeled out, put into a la-la state and a grim test ensued.

About this time I was wondering how much I valued my life.

I was then wheeled into the lab where I would be probed, prodded and wires strung up into my heart. Fun, huh?

Back in my room after the procedure, I was told I had to lie perfectly straight on my back. Okay, I didn’t feel much like dancing around anyway.

I became aware of a low moaning. It rose and fell in volume. It was accompanying by a higher pitched keening.

It was the man next to me and his family.

Who knew what had befallen him.

It was unnerving.

It went on and on and on.

“Oh, Mr. Manoush. Everthing gonna to be fine,” the nurse said soothingly in soft accents of the islands.

“Oh, “ he groaned.

“Eiiya,” his family replied.

The curtain was drawn between us yet I saw them all accurately in my mind’s eye.

“Visiting hours over, “ an abrupt made voice announced.

“Oh,” Mr. Manoush groaned.

“Eeiya,” his family replied.

“If you don’t leave, I’ll call security, “ the voice barked.

I heard rubber clogs clomping away.

There were hurried whispers, a swish of clothes and feet pattering.

The rubber clogs clomped back. My curtain was whisked open.

“I’m Bill and I’m your night nurse.”

He was burley in his blue scrubs. There was hair on his chest peeking over the V neckline, hair on his arms, hair on his hands. Bring on the antiseptic scrub. Right now.

Through that long night, I learned Bill’s story as a male nurse. He wanted to be a doctor but couldn’t afford it. He had switched jobs and shifts for more money. He and his wife had wanted children but that was not to be.

However, the most telling of all, was that he loved the night shift when the patients were drugged to sleep and the families had been escorted out.

After that, I didn’t dare doze, and in my drugged state I plotted a Stephen King-type horror novel. Not surprisingly, it was about a night nurse.

Mr. Mansoush begged for tea in the morning. Bill seemed not to understand the accent. I wasn’t surprised. He signed the charts and clumped off before he’d have to deal with those non-woozy humans,


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