Thursday, October 19, 2006

I've seen dead people

As a nurse, I have seen a lot of dead people. When I decided at the age of seven that I wanted to be a nurse, I don't think I ever considered the death element. I mean, Consuela, Marcus Welby's nurse, never had a dead patient. Nurses wore white, took orders and fluffed pillows. No one ever died whilst getting their pillows fluffed.

The first night shift I worked in the hospital as a student, three people died. It's the only time in my career that three people died in one of my shifts. Mind you, I wasn't even caring for them, but good heavens, they were dropping like flies. The first time it happened, the staff wouldn't let me in the room -- tender sweet thing that I was. Heck, I was proud that I actually walked by the room of a dead person. Second one died and I actually set foot in the room, in awe of death. By the time the third one dropped, I was helping bag 'n tag, as hubby calls it. I was a pro.

The hospital I worked at had a really creepy morgue. The freezer there would only hold four bodies, and man, I hated opening that freezer door. You just never knew what you'd find in there, cause the ER would just bring 'em in there in all kinds of conditions. I found one in there one night actually sitting up in the wheelchair. Never did figure that one out.

When you walked in the door of the morgue, it was so creepy, because you walked in through the autopsy room. It was literally like Frankenstein's lab, with clear jars of various body parts lining shelves in a cabinet that went to the ceiling. I hated that place.

We were never really anxious to go down to that morgue, but one night we had to go twice. I went down to the morgue with both patients. A co-worker went with me, cause you just can't put a body in there without some help--there's a reason it's called dead weight. First time, she decided to check things out. Across the room from the freezer, there was a Frigidaire refrigerator, just like you and I put milk and eggs in. She started reading the sign on it. "If you put a leg in here...." it read. That note had a whole list of things to do if you needed to drop off a leg. Ewwwww. Well, Cindy decided to look and see if there was, indeed a leg in there, and was sadly disappointed that there wasn't.

Next time down, we were talking about how creepy the place was, being in the belly of the basement, gallbladders lined up, legs in the fridge and all. We were trying to get the door unlocked when a palmetto bug the size of my hand came crawling out from under the door. We both screamed at the top of our lungs, when suddenly a booming voice from behind us quietly said "can I help you?"

I almost passed out. I'm pretty sure I left a puddle where I was standing. That was the point at which we found out that maintenance was just across the hall from the morgue, and the maintenance man, on a break, had just popped over to see if he could help.

Yeah, help me get my heart outta my throat. That would be helpful.

And so, in honor of the creepiest morgue I ever experienced (and I've seen several), here's a great corpse bride costume offered earlier this month by by Vertical Vision Vintage, at Main Street Vintage Mall.

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