Monday, March 5, 2012
Night Shift Nightmares
I'm working the night shift tonight. I don't usually work the night shift, but I thought I'd do something different this week. At night, when most of the staff have fled the psychiatric floor and you are left alone with two nurses and a few patients, you hear things you would never notice during the day. They day is bedlam and all the noises blend together, but in the quiet every rattle becomes distinct. I was doing an intake with a patient in their room when I noticed a strange and unaccountable noise that sounded like a large metal object being drug over the door and wall. The noise was very loud and it almost made me drop my clipboard. I asked the patient what the noise was. They responded that the noise came and went and that noises like that have filled the room since they've been here. The patient had assumed it was all in their head. I assured them it was not and they were very relieved.
I had heard that noise before in that room. I had been doing a treatment plan with another patient and I had thought it was another patient dragging something on the wall, but tonight all the other patients were in the group room. Tonight, the halls are empty and the nurses are eating dinner. Of course, I know that several months ago we had a sentinel event. A sentinel even is an event that makes hospital reconsiders their policies and rewrite their rules. We had a patient kill themself in the very room I had been sitting and listening to odd noises in. There had been a thorough investigation into the incident and it was determined that the staff had done all they could for the poor woman, but she had been determined and creative. I am proud of where I work. We have some of the best staff and the best reputation in the area, but on psychiatric units, sometimes bad things happen.
Very few here believe in the supernatural. They are all people of medicine and think ghosts are the product of mental illness driven magical thinking. They enjoy the stories but they would never notice the odd noises. But sitting here alone in the dark, I have to wonder what is in that room? Does that unhappy woman linger in the shadows making her presence known only to the patients? Is her ghost still here struggling to find the happiness she couldn't find in life?