It’s early. That witching hour when everything seems quiet, calm, nearly serene. I’m sitting at the nursing station being lulled to sleep by the gentle hum of the tele monitors, the whir of the HVAC system, and the whoosh, clunk of the pneumatic tube system depositing goodies for our floor.
I hear movement over to my right. Rustling of covers, the fumbling of old person hands attempting to figure out how to unhook their tele, IV and any other innumerable inconvienences of spending time in a hospital. Languidly I lean back in my chair, just enough to see the scene as it starts to play out. There’s Mrs. Olsen, trying once again to crawl out of bed. And if almost on cue I hear her fire up once again in a high-pitched keening wail, “Kaaaaathyy. Kaaaaaaaathy! Kaaaaaaathy!”
I look above the tele monitor and see the red countdown clock ticking away, “5,4,3,2,1…” and then a gentle hissing sound. Over Mrs. Olsens bed a nozzle pops out of the ceiling and dusts a fine mist over her. Just a little Vitamin A (or Vitamin L depending how you call it), slowly drifts down onto her soft white hair. I call out across the hall, “Mrs. Olsen, where are you going?”
Momentarily distracted by my unexpected arrival she looks up, surprised, shocked in the fact someone is in her house. Then just as soon as the shock registers, she seems to sigh, then settles back into bed. I roll back to the station to check the status monitor. The Sector 51 Aerial Sedation System™ status lights show all in the green. Ativan levels show well-stocked. I double check the timing system, sure enough, q2 hours, set to fine mist. I ratchet open the cabinet, double check the syringes, run the diagnostics, close the door and settle back into my chair. All is well. All is calm.
Time goes by like a French surrealist film, dragging into the wee hours of the morning. Then I hear a commotion from down the hall. “Hey, I need some help down here!” comes the anxious cry of a co-worker. I jump up and sprint down the hall. Skidding around the corner like Tom Cruise in Risky Business I’m confronted by a 6’11” tall, naked beast of a man. He’s hold our defibrillator above his head slowly rotating around his head like a planet orbiting our Sun. He has that vacant look of menacing paranoia and ill will, ready to snap at the wrong move.
“Hey Wanderer,” whispers the nurse standing next to me, “think you can get some Haldol?”
“I’m on my way!” I say as I run back down the hall. Into the Pyxis room and punch in the access code. The drawer opens and I pull out a tube filled with jelly bean-like lozenges. Another door opens and a simple blow-gun apparatus is revealed. I grab both and head down the hallway. I load as I run racking in a full clip.
He’s still there. Just as pissed. Just as on edge. He’s distracted by the 5 burly gents from security surrounding him with 4 point restraints hanging from their belts. I stop and take my time. Line up my shot, just like they taught us duing the in-service. Then “whap” a slight breath of air and the lozenge flies out towards our irate gentleman. It flies straight and true, splatting on his chest like a bug on a windshield.
“One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three…” and like a tall tree falling in the forsest he starts to teeter. Then over the edge. Security grabs him easing him to the floor. I dash in and grab the defibrillator. The crisis has passed. He’s snoring on the floor, drooling onthe freshly cleaned linoleum.
“Wanderer….hey Wanderer…hey Dumbass, wake up!” I slowly open my eyes straring out my friend George. “Your lady is climbing out of bed again…”
Yep, just a dream.