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Thursday, 10 January 2008

Nurse In One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest

By Lia of the Yum Yum Café blog

[Years and years ago I used to collect stories of embarrassment and mortification from friends and family. Over a decade or two, I collected these pearls of narration. I thought I might write down some of these stories, names and places changed of course, and share them with you.]

Do you remember Nurse Ratched in the book, One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest? My friend George had a run in with her a while ago.

George comes down with this pain in his lower abdomen. It’s Sunday morning and he’s had the pain since Friday afternoon. It is just getting worse and worse. He’s worried that it could be his appendix, so off he goes down to the emergency room of his local small town hospital. Unfortunately, everyone else in the surrounding area and their relative are in the emergency ward as well.

The waiting room and the long corridor leading down to the administration desk are choc-a-bloc patients. At the head of all this misery sits Nurse Ratched on her throne - behind a sliding glass window, a typewriter and a wide selection of hospital forms all to be filled out in triplicate.

As a new patient, George has to wait in a line up on the left side of the corridor to tell Nurse Ratched that he is ill. Then he has to wait in the line up on the right side of the corridor for his chance to fill out the hospital forms in triplicate with Nurse Ratched who only uses one finger and one eye to type. The other eye is staring at George and making sure he doesn’t show any signs of impatience or pain. Because, if he does show any impatience or pain, and of course he does, she types slower and speaks louder.

Then George sits in the no-man’s land, otherwise known as the waiting room, until he knows his pain is his appendix and he feels just about capable of surgically removing the faulty organ himself with the aid of his nifty Swiss Army knife.

Finally, at long last, Nurse Ratched instructs him to go into cubicle 3 and remove his clothes and get into the hospital gown lying on the examination table. The doctors will come soon to look at him.

He waits in cubicle 3 so long, he’s worried that everyone else has left for the night. So, back he goes, shuffling along in paper slippers, clutching the back of his hospital gown for modesty sake, through the waiting room and along the corridor to Nurse Ratched to inquire whether or not he can expect to see a doctor any time this century.

Nurse Ratched stares at George with her one eye. She says he will see a doctor as soon as he brings her a urine sample; the container is in cubicle 3 on the shelf. George goes back to cubicle 3 and there, fair enough, is a container.

He proceeds to pee in the container, but instantly realises that he is in Big Trouble. He’s been sitting so long on various sides of the corridor or in the waiting room, that his bladder is full. There is no way that he can just pee a few drops and shut off the flow, as it were. There is also no toilet or sink or any other possible vessel to take the overflow - nothing but the container in his hand that is getting fuller and fuller. Oh gawd, it is so full that there is this dome of suspended liquid jiggling a millimetre over the top of the container.

Mortified. Humiliated. He makes his way slowly through the waiting room and down the long corridor. He’s holding the container with both hands, so as not to spill any liquid, backside exposed through the gapping hospital gown, and he is furiously thinking what he can say or do to Nurse Ratched when he finally arrives at her desk.

There has to be something he can say that will sting. Something that will make her realise the error of her ways. But as he approaches the sliding glass window, he knows there is nothing that will wipe the distain from her one eye. There is no soul inside of that eye. There is no blood flowing through the veins of Nurse Ratched.

He delicately places the container filled to the brim in the middle of the counter in front of the sliding window without spilling a drop. Then he looks over at Nurse Ratched and mouths the words, “You win”. With that, George goes back to cubicle 3, puts on his clothes, and walks out of the hospital.

He then calls me to pick him up and drive him to Toronto (two-hour drive away), where he gets his appendix removed the instant he enters the emergency room of the university hospital.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Oh, Lord. what a story. He is fortunate that he made it to the second hospital in time! I have run into several Nurse Ratched's in my time....LOL

Oh, Oh, this is just so typical of some stories I too have heard.

Yes, I have come in contact with a Nurse "Wretched" in my day.

This particular one was very mean and I'm sorry your friend, George, had to have that terrible experience. Thank Heavens he had you to turn to for a ride to a REAL hospital...

Unbelieveable! I think it helps to pinch up one's face while groaning "I feel like I'm going to throw up." I'm surprised he didn't "accidentally" spill some sample onto Nurse Ratchet's desk.

There are so many heroes of nurses out there. Yet, at least in George's and my mind, we will remember this particular one because she of her tiny pinch-sized heart. You'd think someone would put someone like that out of their misery and just fire them.

Sick! All puns intended.

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