Being an ED doctor, you get used to seeing a boatload of patients in each shift, sometimes its very busy, sometimes it isn’t too busy but the day gets quite rough because of the severity of sick patients, and sometimes it’s a combination of both. Any shift in the ED can be unpredictable, and can change from hour to hour. While most shifts can be counted on to be unpredictable as to what will happen next, or how the day (or night) will unfold, some shifts you walk in to work, and you just know you are in for a long day. One such ED shift? Halloween night.
I walked in to work, and witnessed, in order of appearance – a drunk Ronald McDonald, with a laceration on his face (or was that really bad makeup?) that was not quite bleeding but was being attended to by a young and vivacious Morticia Addams, who I was not sure was either very intoxicated or thoroughly in character as she spoke to him in a verrrryyyyy sultry way; an Elvis in a wheelchair with an IV bag connected to him, looking like he wanted to use the sick bowl clutched in his hands; a very pregnant Marilyn Monroe (atlas I think she was pregnant!); a pirate and Catwoman sitting side by side (I couldn’t tell what was wrong with them).
Paeds also had its share of costumes. There were 3 Harry Potters, various ages, 1 vomiting, 2 with fever (one of whom even had a stuffed owl on his shoulder); Tinkerbell was crying; but the Elsas stole the show, there were atleast 7 of those.
Resus (where we housed our most critical patients) was currently home to a mummy in one of the bays – one could argue that they may not have been in costume, and may have actually been treated with those bandages, but I didn’t ask. There was Gandalf with a broken ankle, that the orthopaedics were sedating and setting right.
It was all quite bizarre and funny and sad and interested and…colorful, all at the same time. I had never spent Halloween at work before, and never could have imagined what an ED shift would be like in these circumstances. Well now I know, and so do you.