Apocalypse (You mean, right now?): One Survivor's Tale of Surgical Proportions

  1. 9

    It's just a Bunionectomy you reassure your family with flippant lightheartedness as you head to surgery. Nothing to worry about and definitely not the end of the world. The nurse skillfully piloting your surgical cart pauses to mention the apocalypse conveniently scheduled at 9:50. You laugh it off. Your surgery is going to start at 9:30. Besides, you quip, wouldn't you want to sleep through the end of the world?

    It's just a Bunionectomy you reassure your family with flippant lightheartedness as you head to surgery. Nothing to worry about and definitely not the end of the world. The nurse skillfully piloting your surgical cart pauses to mention the apocalypse conveniently scheduled at 9:50. You laugh it off. Your surgery is going to start at 9:30. Besides, you quip, wouldn't you want to sleep through the end of the world?

    You don't know how long you've hovered on the edge of consciousness, but as your eyes drift open, the dull ache in your head roars to life as a tympani thunders behind your eyes at the glare of surgical lights, making your cloudy vision pulse at the edges. A high pitched, whining alarm scratches at your hyper sensitive hearing. A groan slips through your lips when you swallow dry, unreasonably warm, sterile surgical air. Everything blown out of proportion. Your very skin hums.

    But there is no one talking. No one moving. You lie still, listening for a moment before your stomach clenches as instinct whispers that something is terribly, terribly wrong.

    You are alone.

    The room lies abandoned.

    Managing to slip an arm free from the Velcro strap on the arm table, your rub your eyes clear and immediately regret it.

    The room is a maelstrom of chaos.

    What was once a mayo stand lie overturned, caved, instruments strewn, bronzed in old blood, glittering against the tiled floor. Shreds of paper gown tacked to the tile in a mounded, gelatinous clot you pray doesn't belong to you. Sitting stools upended, fabric shredded. On the other side, a torso wide blood smear trails to the OR door which hangs slightly offset on its hinges. Ten evenly spaced scratching gouges spackled with bloody grime mar the lip of the door frame. Maroon deep hand sprints, splatter, dents, chipped paint, broken glass, the hiss of oxygen seeping from a nozzle. The smell--iron, betadine, something acrid, foul, pungent--brings your eyes to water but not before you notice it: disjointed bloody footprints seem to circle the OR bed as if someone....no...something was stalking, watching....

    The wave of bile takes you before you are aware of it cresting. Never before have you been so grateful to have skipped you traditional midnight snack of pizza with a scoop of ice-cream. The nausea toys with you, making your mind grind to a halt as you struggle to focus--to think.

    Your foot.

    The horror is at once overwhelming as is the tumbling tsunami of dread.

    You tear your other arm free from the Velcro armboard strap, heedless of the pang of protest of an IV torn free, to rip at the rumpled drapes haphazardly strewn over your body with single minded purpose. A sob is stifled when your own foot peeks into view, half wrapped in kerlix, intact.

    Distantly, the clattering sound of movement echoes through the door. Someone is still here. You lever yourself to your feet, careful to walk only on the heel of the operative foot as you vaguely remember your surgeon mentioning something about sharp wires.

    Curiosity and a primitive drive nearly too strong to be properly defined fuel your limping steps closer to the OR doors. Your hands tremble as you reach for the lever, exhaling a shaky breath as you brace to open the door.

    You know you can't stay here, but you do not know where to go.

    From down the halls, behind the doors a shrieking scream punctuates the air before it is abruptly cut off with a wrenching gurgle. And then....oh mercy...is that the sound of bone?

    The overhead lights flicker sharply and the whining alarm falls silent. The laminar flow vents breathe their last as the air falls stagnant, still, and oh so quiet.

    Shuffling footsteps light you with irrational hope that you have been remembered, blurring your already fuzzy reasoning that someone is coming, and you make your greatest mistake: you call out.

    "Someone there?"

    No. Not someone. Not anymore.


    The slow, dragging gait morphs into a three beat galloping sprint. The doors shudder beneath the sudden disjointed onslaught of limbs wielded in uncoordinated, feral determination. Through the reinforced glass a milky, glaring gaze peers back before a sallow arm splinters the window.

    You run.

    But you are knock-kneed from anesthesia, nauseated from dosed drugs that your body labels poison, wounded and singled out. Alone.

    You are perfect prey.

    You curl against the furthest wall, your heart beating wildly in your chest, clutching, nearly clawing your own ears to block the sound, struggling to hide your eyes in the well laundered hospital gown. Maybe if you donít look it will go away, forget you're there.

    The door groans, shakes, and finally surrenders.

    Hands grapple, shred, tear and with one final burst for survival you lash out, swinging violently, screaming--

    "Whoa, there. You're just waking up. Deep breaths, sir. Calm down, everything looks just fine. Can you open your eyes?"

    No. No no no. It must be a trick. Light fingers ghost the hair off your sweaty brow before gently tapping your forehead.

    "Come on, I know you're awake. Surgery is all done. Everything went well. Open your eyes."

    You finally peek, trying to make it quick in case it is all just a dream. A quirked, humored eyebrow over the edge of a surgical mask greets you. They eyes look tired but understanding. Perhaps one of the creatures learned to speak?

    But then...what creatures? Already you can't recall. What was it that frightened you so is fading back into the miasma of fentanyl. Warm blankets wrap your shoulders, nearly making you purr with pleasure. When did it get so cold?

    "Do you remember what you were dreaming of?" You glance up to answer, your heart hiccupping in your chest when the eyes are deep rimmed, fogged, wrong. You blink to clear your vision and the echoing screams that clamber in your mind. Before you can stop yourself, your head is shaking a light no.


    Peace, quiet, and the spent burn of muscles post adrenaline rush pull you back under in spite of yourself.

    As you drift a light voice in your ear murmurs the reminder, "Remember, until you are healed, no walking. And absolutely, under any circumstances, no running."

    Thank you for joining me on my steady decline to madness,



    CheesePotato Sez:

    Remember, zombies can't climb! Well, only the clever ones can. So get high, literally, and get armed.

    Be creative! Even a stilleto high heel is a weapon in the right hands.

    Survival of the fittest rules: You don't have to be the fastest one out there, you just have be faster than that guy over there.

    Last but not least, never slam Cafeteria coffee and then decide to finish it off with a questionable cafeteria sandwich. This is the end result.

    Run! Save yourselves!

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. About CheesePotato

    Now you know. And knowledge is power!

    CheesePotato has 'Enough.' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Sleep medicine,Floor nursing, OR, Trauma'. From 'Down the Rabbit Hole'; Joined Jan '12; Posts: 241; Likes: 2,316. You can follow CheesePotato on Twitter My Website

    Read more articles from CheesePotato

    12 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    What the what?!?

    Lol, reminded me of the Saw movie!
    Thanks, I'll be sure to sleep well now. After my tachypnea resolves...
    CheesePotato and VivaLasViejas like this.
  4. 1
    Awesomely creepy story, CP!!! Well done
    CheesePotato likes this.
  5. 1
    And a Merry Christmas to you, too.

    Love ya, CP.
    Firestarter_RN likes this.
  6. 1
    Awesome, what a ride CheesePotato!

    I had to turn out the lights because the anesthesia was making my head pound too, I was right there!

    I was yelling,"find the Bone Saw- and go for their heads! Don't let them bite you, it's over if they bite you!"
    Firestarter_RN likes this.
  7. 1
    Firestarter_RN likes this.
  8. 0
    Great story! And exactly how I felt when I had a lap-chole late morning of 9/11/01.....
  9. 0
    Hey I just had a bunionectomy and sesamoidectomy on 12/21... I am home recovering and trying to deal with this pain. Im glad this didnt happen during my surgery lol good descriptive story..Happy holidays!
  10. 1
    I'd like to remind you all that along with those things, a credit card held tightly with your thumb a third inch or so from the corner also makes a great improvised weapon. The zombies won't know what ripped them
    Firestarter_RN likes this.
  11. 0

    Merry Christmas!

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors