Saturday, 31 October 2009
So once upon a time I was one nurse to 80 million patients and.....
I just had to start off with that line because that is how every damn post on this blog starts.
But this post has nothing to do with all that.
I had the idea to blog about possible paranormal experiences of health care workers but I put it off for months. I felt like most of the readers on here seem sensible and probably wouldn't care for supernatural stuff.
But what the hell. It's Halloween. Let's rock out with the ghost stuff. Grab your sweets and let's go.
Some of these things really happened to me and some have happened to colleagues and friends. I know I know: Dying brains hallucinate and so do tired nurses.
1.I was a brand new graduate nurse on a cardiac unit once. Didn't know my arse from a hole in the ground nor did I believe in anything stupid like ghosts and supernatural happenings. The older nurses who precepted me set me straight and made me a half decent nurse. They also nearly made me goddamn believer in the paranormal.
Peggy was my mentor and we were on duty together one evening. She had been a nurse for 40 years and was cool as a cucumber. We were looking after a man called John. He had some cardiac problems. John, a 48 year old man, was one bad dude during his life. Real bad. He had been in and out of prison for everything from drugs to rape to violent attacks on innocent people. Nurses always went into that room two at a time and security was outside.
John got better. He was discharged home by his very competent doctor. He was waiting for transport back to maximum security. He may have been an evil dick but he was orientated and with it times 3 normally. No confusion whatsoever.
But all of the sudden we heard him start screaming his head off "Help Help Help". Peggy and I legged it to his room.
"You goddamn bitches better get that motherfucker in black out of my room" says John.
"We don't see anyone in your room John so calm down and tell us what is happening. Are you feeling unwell? Are you have chest pain?" says I.
" NO i AIN'T GOT NO PAIN. Listen to me you fucking whores. That dude is standing right over there in the goddamn corner. He is wearing black and he is looking at me. GET HIM THE FUCK OUT OF MY ROOM." says John.
Peggy and I went through the motions of looking behind the curtains, in the bathroom etc. No dude in black was seen. John, however, thought he saw him and was getting really angry...fearful I think. We tried to reassure him as much as possible and stepped back in the doorway. He had denied any pain etc.
"Anna get the crash trolley" says Peggy quietly.
I couldn't believe what she just said. "He's fine, maybe he has developed an infection and he is confused. Why do you want the crash trolley?"...I giggled.
"Anna that man is seeing the angel of death, the bad one. Get the trolley and put the crash call out." says Peggy. She said this in a very serious tone she gave me a little shove in the direction of the crash trolley we use for resuscitation.
Now I am laughing at Peggy and saying "You are nuts..he's not gonna....
And as I was in mid sentence John's eyes went real wide and he collapsed in his bed. I may have been a newbie but I knew a sudden cardiac arrest as soon as I saw one.
Now I ran for the crash trolley. John did indeed pass away.
2. I looked after a lady named Jane once. She was about 96 and had supposedly been mostly non verbal and immobile following a stroke a year ago. Now she was in the hospital with something else and she was dying. I never heard her speak. One day I was walking by her room. I heard a weak female voice saying "Milly, Milly, come here my love how I missed you"! Hand over my heart I went into that room and she was sat on the end of her bed arms outstretched...a look of pure joy on her face. Her eyes looked like they were watching someone move about the room. I had never seen this woman move let alone speak so after my initial shock faded I asked her Milly was. She didn't answer. She just laid down on the bed and went back to sleep with a smile of contentment.
This happened a few more times and other nurses saw it. I never saw a look of such pure joy on any person's face. As Jane deteriorated, the Milly sightings increased. The medics didn't believe us. Finally I asked Jane's grandson who Milly was. He gave me a strange look and told me that Milly was Jane's little 2 year old daughter, the apple of her eye.
Milly was the only daughter after 4 sons. Milly died at age 2 when she fell out of a second story window while Jane wasn't paying attention. This was decades and decades ago. Jane never got over it and refused to speak about it. She blamed herself. The grandson was shocked that I even knew the name since Jane was no longer verbal. Hell even when she could talk she could not mention Milly without violently weeping.
This is when I started to get that maybe there is something out there that we cannot see. I do not believe that anyone ever dies alone. They come for them. As a nurse you soon realise that when a patient is dying it is like a family reunion of all their deceased loved ones around that bed. The closer they get to death..the more we the living seem like a fuzzy dream, and dad who died in 1930 seems like total reality as he stands over the bed with a smile and a reassuring wink.
On a number of occasions I have walked into a patient's room to see her smiling from ear to ear "My brother Paul who died in the big war was just here visiting me".
This kind of statement always perks my ears up and I take a close look at my patient because 9 times out of 10.......
Sometimes out of the corner of your eye you will kind of see or sense others in the room of an extremely sick patient. It's weird.
I was caring for a dying 87 year old woman not so long ago. She was dying in a really awful manner. The care assistant and I were changing her gown (haemoptysis and maleena). The patient was not really aware of us but my god, she was having a beautiful conversation with someone we couldn't see. I felt like I was intruding on a very emotive but happy family reunion. From what she was saying, it sounded like she was talking her to mother and auntie.
Of course of course...dying brains hallucinate and all that.
Some people claim that the wards are haunted. I have only ever seen things out of the corner of my eye and such. I walked out of the drug room and then walked back in quickly because I forgot a syringe. The room was tidy when I left it but 10 seconds later when I walked back the room every drawer was emptied onto the floor. The staff at that place were convinced it was haunted.
I took care of a little old man who used to pull my ponytail all the time and laugh. He died on my ward. Every time I walked past his bay for a few nights someone yanked on my ponytail.
I worked with a care assistant who swore that she would have reoccurring dreams about an old fashioned horse drawn hearse. Whenever she dreamt this before work there would be a death on the ward.
A very anxious lady named Helen died on the ward downstairs. They took her body away and then the room was empty. But the call bell kept ringing and ringing over and over again. The room was indeed empty!! Maintenance was called in...but they could find no fault with the call bell system. Finally one of the older nurses shouted "for god's sake Helen you're dead, just cross over and stop messing with that bell". It stopped.
There was the nursing home built over the site of a Victorian orphanage where all the Alzheimer's residents saw the same thing: A little boy in a navy suit and a little girl in a green dress running around the facility acting up and being silly and naughty. The nurse's got sick and tired of the residents asking them to deal with those brats in the old fashioned clothes who were jumping on the bed. How could the nurses deal with children they couldn't even see?
There's more but my children are raiding the sweets that I thought I had hidden so well. Happy Halloween everyone.