When there isn’t a patient in a room, we usually turn off the lights in the room and leave the door open. When patients are in the room, the lights are on and the doors are shut. Just a habit. You can see how busy it is (i.e. “what you’re in for”) by the number of rooms with lights on when you’re walking up to the ED at the start of your shift.
Not too long ago there were several rooms with their lights off. The rooms with patients had their doors closed. We were all caught up on our work and we sat around talking. This is usually about the time when silly things start to happen. Maybe one of us will bust out into song. Or we’ll argue about who’s the biggest dork in the latest issue of People magazine. Maybe someone will get squirted with a syringe full of water and a clandestine water fight will break out. Sometimes we crowd around a computer screen to watch YouTube videos.
This particular night, Tom, one of the registered nurses, was acting like he had been drinking at a holiday party. There was some rap song on the radio and he started shaking his thang and dancing. We all laughed. Then he grabbed a couple of Hershey kisses sitting on the desk and put them up to his chest like nipples. He kept dancing and laughing, worked his way over to one of the other nurses, put one of the Hershey’s kisses up to the nurse’s face, and asked her in a loud voice if she “wanted a bite.”
It was only then that Tom noticed the migraine patient in the dark room across the hall sitting bolt upright in bed with her husband and child standing next to her all looking at him with mouths agape.
Tom went on his dinner break immediately afterwards.
I think he had one Hershey’s kiss left for dessert.