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Deleted material from the forthcoming post “1F”

February 11, 2012

Sometimes people ask me, “What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen in the hospital?” The answer to this one is easy: nothing. The lights went out. My job was prepping patients for outpatient surgery, and I was standing by the nurses’ station. Without so much as a flicker, every light in the OR died, throwing us into utter darkness, the kind that only exists on the inside of sealed vessels. I began to count off the seconds, thinking, there must be backups, batteries, generators, something. Metal doors slammed closed around us: normally they were held open by electromagnets, and their circuits had failed, too. There were patients in surgery – how many? Three or four, probably, open right now. Even if I’d known where the ward flashlight was, I could not have found it. How many flashlights were there, for all surgery? Nine seconds and still no light. A young nurse gave voice: “Oh, God. Oh, my God.” An older nurse cut off the panic before it could find spread: “Be quiet!” And then the lights came on. Fourteen seconds. I had kept very good count.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 11, 2012 4:04 pm

    I removed this from a longer post about Grand River’s psych ward because, well, it wasn’t about Grand River’s psych ward. Rereading it, it needs a bit of tweaking.

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