Rehab's Ghost

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    Not all ghosts are evil or even necessarily bad, although after THIS experienced I'm convinced that some of them are!

    I've come to the conclusion that every hospital -- and probably nursing homes, funeral homes and assisted livings -- have their ghosts. Certainly I've encountered many of them over my decades of nursing. My mother used to claim that she'd see them all over the place. "They just walk around town like the rest of us," she said. "But if you're really looking, you can see that they're not real." When I asked her how she knew they were ghosts, she had a lot of vague answers -- one of them being that she had seen people she knew to be dead walking around the supermarket or coming out of the pharmacy. When I asked her if they'd ever scared her, she said no. "They're everywhere," she said. "No use getting scared about it." For the most part, I've taken that attitude as well. Most of the ghosts I've seen have been benign presences, and some of them have even been beneficial. There was one, though . . . .

    I worked nights in the CCU of a community hospital out west somewhere. Census fluctuated, and we went through long periods where we were floated all over the hospital. And so one night, I found myself floated to Rehab where I was clearly a fish out of water. I wasn't used to having so much down time -- but it seemed that from midnight until 4 AM there was nothing to do except sit in the dining room drinking coffee and telling stories. As often seems to happen on night shift, we told ghost stories. One of the nurses claimed there was no such thing as a ghost. She was very new to nursing and was still on orientation. The charge nurse, Elsie, must have been in her fifties. She seemed positively ancient to me then. I'm probably older than she was then. Elsie didn't say much to this proclamation. She let me tell Nancy the Newbie that there was such a thing as a ghost, and she listened to a couple of my stories. Then she said "Don't go into 1D."

    I'd seen the census board -- I was assigned to Room 1, and I knew there wasn't a patient in 1D. I'd been in the room helping the three little old ladies in 1A,B and C get ready for bed. 1D was empty but for a pillow or two lying on the bed.

    "There's no one in 1D," I said.

    "Just don't go in there if the call light goes off," she said. "Turn it off from the desk." Elsie was clearly reluctant to say more, and Nancy wanted to tell everyone about her born again Christian beliefs and the wedding she was planning.

    And we went on to talk about other subjects.

    I was passing out my few 4 AM medications when the call light went off. Having forgotten Elsie's warning, I went into the room to see which of my three little ladies needed help. All three were sleeping soundly, though, and the curtain was pulled around 1D. That's where the call light was coming from. Without thinking, I grasped the curtain and eased it aside, preparing to go over to the wall and cancel the call light. That's as far as I got, though, when I pillow came flying off of the bed and smacked me right in the face. Hard. At the same time I felt what I can only describe as a wave of malevolance coming off the empty bed. I've never felt so much hate and anger in my life -- it felt EVIL. There's just no other way to describe it. I was already starting to retreat when another pillow came flying off the bed and although I thought I ducked it, this one also hit me in the face. Tears blurring my vision, I retreated to the bedside of one of my sleeping ladies. The evil came with me.

    I don't remember making a conscious decision to run, but suddenly I was running out of the room and down the hall to the nurse's station. Elsie looked up as she heard me coming. Her face blanched, and she said "Oh no! You woke it up. I TOLD you not to go in there." I wasn't in the mood to explain myself -- I just kept going until I got to the well-lit nurse's station. I could see Nancy the Newbie writing in a chart, and Elsie was coming down the hall behind me when I heard a series of crashes and what sounded like glass shattering from the med room. The locked med room. To which only Elsie had the keys.

    When you hear crashes in a hosptial, you go to investigate. It's just an ingrained reaction that you don't even think about. Hear a crash, run to check it out. When I got to the glass door of the med room, the room, which had been neat and tidy only moments earlier, looked as if a tornado had been through it. All of the drawers were pulled out, the contents dumped on the floor and glass IV bottles were shattered. Paperwork littered the floor in shreds, with liquid medications and IV fluid soaking through the pieces of paper. I think my mouth must have been hanging open in shock, and I could see Nancy the newbie reflecting that expression. Elsie, though, looked resigned and a little peeved. "Now look at what you've done," she said, arm sweep encompassing the mess. "You woke it up."

    "It," she explained as the three of us set about straightening the med room, seemed to be the remnants of an angry, nasty old man whose family brought him to the hospital for an "evaluation" and who stayed because no one would take him home. He was a child molester, she said. He'd abused all three of his daughters and was starting on his granddaughters before someone took action. His diabetes and blood pressure were out of control -- probably because he refused to take note of any doctor's orders, prescriptions or dietary advice, and when he got to the Rehab unit, he'd already lost a leg to gangrene. He was angry about losing the leg, angry about the diet restrictions, and furious about his so-called "incarceration without a trial" in "this hell hole." He frequently verbally abused, hit, kicked, scratched, bit and otherwise injured any nurse unfortunate enough to be caught unawares. "He was a nasty, evil old man," Elsie proclaimed. "He was just evil." When he died, he died screaming and cowering and begging the nursing staff he'd abused "don't let him take me to hell! Don't let the devil get me!" He died, of course, in 1D.

    "We don't put patients in there," Elsie said. "Even when we're full. We've had patients stay in the hall rather than put them in that bed because every time we do they say the same thing -- that corner is the gateway to hell. Even the priest we had here begged us to get him out of there as soon as the clock struck 12:01." Nancy the Newbie resigned the next day, and I heard that she never set foot in the building again. I was floated to Rehab a few more times over the years I worked at that hospital, but you can be sure I never went near 1D again, especially not after midnight.
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  2. Visit Ruby Vee profile page

    About Ruby Vee, BSN, RN

    Ruby Vee believes in ghosts, poltergeists and things that go bump in the night. It's hard not to when you've seen them!

    Joined: Jun '02; Posts: 14,072; Likes: 58,832

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  3. by   nerdtonurse?
    I would have pooped my scrubs, I believe....great story!
  4. by   handyrn
    I hate to get all "particular" with you here, but I don't think that was a ghost. I don't think ghosts ever do harm. Demons do. I do believe you had a demon there. Scarey!
  5. by   Art_Vandelay
    I don't believe in ghost, demons, etc., but I enjoyed your story!
  6. by   hecallsmeDuchess
    I enjoyed this one as well. I would have not been running from there quietly, my screams would have woken the entire hospital. More, Ruby, more.
  7. by   LTCangel
    You are a good stroy teller Ruby!! Love it!:bowingpur
  8. by   angell883RN
    Oh my GOODNESS!! Is this story really True??!! PLEASE tell more- I was hanging off my chair!!!
  9. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from angell883rn
    oh my goodness!! is this story really true??!! please tell more- i was hanging off my chair!!!
    it's all true except for the names (which i honestly don't remember) and the room number (ditto).
  10. by   tiredstudentmom
    wow... excellent ghost story. O_O
  11. by   xiongav
    Quote from nerdtonurse?
    I would have pooped my scrubs, I believe....great story!
    LOL. Thanks for makin' me chuckle a tad after reading that story. Crap, I'm on a creepy-story reading streak on this forum.

    How can one work in such an evil environment? Even after a visit from a priest (who thwarted out of there come midnight) that room is still being vacated?
  12. by   xiongav
    Forgot to mention, is there any unit/specialty involving some physical care in Nursing (RN/NP) that doesn't require dealing with death and the paranormal? Or is that a risk all nurses must face when going into nursing?
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from xiongav
    how can one work in such an evil environment? even after a visit from a priest (who thwarted out of there come midnight) that room is still being vacated?
    this happened before cardinal bernard law and the pedophile priests. at least before they were known about. i have no doubt that evil can exist in the church -- look at the spanish inquisition!