Thursday: 1 a.m. Operating Room
Kate felt good. The aneurysm repair had gone well. The graft to the largest artery in the body had sewn in with ease. The patient, Edward Grant, had done well. When the surgeon, Dr. Grace, had taken the clamps off the lower part of the aortic artery, the patient’s heart tolerated the extra load of circulation to his legs well. He had not even dropped his blood pressure.
Of course, the case had been hard work and transferring Mr. Grant to the ICU was no less arduous than usual. The surgical intensive care unit had been prepared and ready. Kate couldn’t remember the last time an emergency aneurysm repair in the night had gone so well. She had done a great job and for once, her problems seemed far away. She felt almost like her old self, and it did feel good. She walked side by side with Michele toward the locker room. They were going to get their money and go to lunch, and hopefully, the rest of the night would stay quiet.
“Hey, Kate you’re smiling. I know you are thinking of the warmed over cheeseburger and can’t wait to take the first bite,” said Michele.
“Oh no, not cafeteria food. Rescue me, please,” said Kate. “I am hungry though.” Kate opened the locker room door for Michele and followed her in.
“I am too. Even a warmed over cheeseburger sounds good,” said Michele.
Kate headed into the restroom and screamed.
“Geez, Kate. What is your problem?” Michele joined Kate in the restroom and screamed.
Kate and Michele grabbed ahold of each other, staring. Janice, the evening shift charge nurse, hung from the steel shower curtain rod. Panty hose were wrapped around her neck and tied over the bar. Motionless. Her face was pasty white with dark purple rings around her half-opened eyes. Sightless, they stared down at Michele and Kate. Janice’s blackened tongue filled her slack lips.
“What happened to you, Janice?” asked Kate.
“Kate, let’s not talk to her and get out of here instead. Don’t let to of me and we will back out. Okay?”
The two entangled women took two steps backward when Kate said. “Wait a minute.”
“No Kate, Janice is not going to tell you why she did this to herself. Let’s just get out of here.”
“No. What did Janice stand on to get herself up high enough to tie herself to the shower rod?”
“I don’t know, and right now I don’t care,” said Michele. “I guess we need to call the police.”
“Where are her shoes? Why are her scrub pants on backwards?”
“Kate. I’m leaving you. Here. By yourself.” Michele let go of Kate. “Watch my back would you?”
The blood drained out of Kate’s head when Michele let loose of her. Dizziness ensued accompanied by a ringing in “I’ve got your back covered,” said Kate as she ran past Michele and beat her to the door.
“Hey, wait,” said Michele running after Kate to the nurses’ station.