In 1985, the hospital where I currently work, opened its doors. I was 14 years old. My best friend Lori and I became candy stripers there. (Yes, I was THAT good.) We had these great and grandiose visions of helping people and getting to hold the new babies. I think I may have even had a vision of me pushing a cart filled to the brim with toys and candies to give to the kids on the pediatric floor. Their little faces would be shining with joy and happiness, perhaps a squeal or two as I approached the floor. I was going to make a difference for someone.
Just like most of my grandiose visions... what we got was totally different.
We were stuck in the tunnel of the hospital in the flower room... sandwiched between the morgue and the autopsy room. Now as an adult, I can't help but wonder what sick, sadistic SOB planned that? The sound of our own hearts beating and our breathless panting would be interupted only by the sound of the saw in the autopsy room. The lights would flicker off and on occasionally. The halls all looked the same, winding aroung in a maze of terror. It was easy to get turned around in there. I was scared to death every single time I had to go down there wearing my red and white striped pinafore uniform. I felt like a candy cane ready to be eaten by the monsters who lurked in the dark corners of the tunnel.
It was during my sentence... er I mean... volunteer time as a candy striper that the movies "Nightmare on Elm Street" came out. The dark halls and exposed pipes in the tunnel along with it's inherent evil were always like scenes straight out of that movie. I expected old Freddy Krueger to jump out and slit my throat every time I walked through the dark halls.
Fast forward... 23 years. I am now a hospital supervisor at this same hospital. I have the keys that open every single door in that place.
I have always had an irrational fear of the tunnel, but as an ICU nurse, I could always con someone into going into the tunnel... to the morgue... with me. We of irrational fears tend to stick together. Now, as a supervisor, I am the one who is supposed to be fearless. Oh crap!
The other night as I worked my shift as supervisor, I got a call from the environmental services staff who works at night. It's hard not to sound mean with this post, but let me tell you a little bit about the EVS staff. These are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. I have become friends with several of them, but before I knew them, I was scared to death of them. From first glance, they are somewhat mutant like.
I got a call from two guys, who I will refer to as Guido and Scarface. They whisper over the phone in a myserious and menacing tone, "We need to show you something in the tunnel."
Oh crap! I'm all alone and I have to be fearless.
As Guido and Scarface lead me through the dark hallway of the tunnel with Freddy Krueger lurking among the exposed pipes, I realize that Guido's zipper is unzipped and I silently pray that's not what they're wanting to show me. (Mind you, these EVS people are so nice, but... so different)
We walk through the halls and I remember back to being 14 and scared to death of this place. My how some things have changed and some things haven't. At times, I am still that 14 year old girl unsure of what the world holds for me, but with great visions and expectations of what I will show the world.
Due to my own personal regulations about blogging about work, I won't be able to divulge what they were so excited to show me in the depths of the tunnel, but it was a nice journey down memory lane, wasn't it?