It’s not all bedside vigils and life saving heroics in the intensive care unit at Crystal Beach Medical Centre. That stuff does go on obviously, people are on the verge of death after all. Sometimes, however, days are spent simply changing catheters, flushing I.V.’s, and taking vitals. You know, boring stuff.
It was the boring stuff that got the staff into trouble. When you’re sitting around waiting for people to die, you look for new and interesting ways to make the day go by. In their case, discussing when people were probably going to die.
“I give Mrs. Johnson in Room 216 until Thursday night,” the head nurse, Tabitha Stover said.
“Do you really think it will be that soon?” male nurse, Jeff Dunham said in return. “I figure she has at least until next Monday.”
“What you are guys talking about?” Melissa, one of the other nurses, asked.
“We were just discussing how much time Mrs. Johnson has left,” Tabitha told her.
“Until Sunday,” Melissa said in return.
“Sunday? What makes you say that?” Jeff asked.
“I’m good at calling these things. Remember Patsy Matisse?”
“The car crash victim who died last Tuesday?” Tabitha replied.
“Called it!” Melissa declared, perhaps a little too triumphantly. “I’ve secretly predicted every death over the past year.”
“You do that sort of thing?” Jeff asked, both amazed and appalled by what he had just heard.
“It’s a lot more fun than thinking about how the people croaked.”
“Sunday, eh?” Jeff then said after considering Melissa’s point. “Wanna bet?”
“Jeff!” Tabitha exclaimed. “You can’t go placing bets on when people will die. That’s disgusting.”
“Twenty bucks. Who’s in?” was his response.
It turns out, everybody was in, including Tabitha. She even went so far as to post a chart in the medication room indicating everyone’s predictions. It was all fun and games at first, but then like everything in life someone eventually had to go and ruin it. Jeff, the one who started the pool in the first place, was the one to bring about its downfall.
As good as Jeff was at performing CPR, he was terrible at predicting when the hopeless causes would give up the ghost. His frustration over losing eventually lead to anger, which eventually lead to him accusing the others of cheating.
“How could any of us be cheating?” Melissa demanded to know.
“A quick pillow over the face would certainly speed things up for someone who was cutting someone else’s deadline a little too close for comfort,” Jeff suggested.
“No one’s speeding up anyone’s death, Jeff. These people are more than capable of croaking on their own!” Tabitha yelled.
Now, the thing about screaming in the I.C.U. is that it’s fine if you’re a bereaved family member who thinks that shouting “Come back, Papa!” will actually bring him back, but it’s definitely frowned upon if you’re a member of the staff. Visitors will overhear and become curious.
Mabel Andrews, the widow of the man who would have paid this week’s grocery bill for Jeff if he had been thoughtful enough to have gone according to schedule, definitely overheard them arguing and reported them to the hospital’s administration.
A big meeting was held to discuss what to do about the I.C.U. nurses. Some voted to have them suspended while others were in favour of having them fired.
“We can’t fire an entire staff!” someone protested. “Who would look after the patients?”
“Exactly,” chimed in the hospital’s C.E.O. “Where would we find that many new people? It’s not as if there’s some sort of school that churns out a fresh crop of nurses each year. Oh wait, there are hundreds of those around.”
And so it came to pass that the entire I.C.U. staff at Crystal Beach Medical Centre was let go. May their careers rest in peace.