One Halloween night while working a 12 hour night shift when there were no patients, I felt a prank overcome me.
The idea came to me when I was checking the crash carts and doing defibrillator checks.
This idea was going to be a whopper!
My partner and nurse, Jerry, and I took down the hanging skeleton in the ER and laid it down on the gurney and started to dress it up.
First we hooked it up to chest leads from the portable defibrillator, then applied a face mask and an “ambu” bag hooked to wall oxygen and set up suction for the mouth to make it look as real as possible.
We taped a nasogastric tube in place on skeleton man’s nose and set up the equipment for the skeleton patient to be intubated.
Since there was an IV ready and waiting for a real trauma or cardiac patient to come in, I just taped that to his boney arm.
We set out vials of tubes for the blood draw we always perform on cardiac or trauma patients.
We applied an air splint to his lower extremity and inflated gauze around his head and other arm for good measure.
So I guess your thinking, this is a trauma patient, huh?
The boo crew
I called the respiratory therapist and took her behind the trauma curtain and showed her our handiwork and told her our plans.
She was in!
Then I called a photograher I know well who was all game and came into the ER quickly from home and was ready to act out his role.
Jerry called the house supervisor and once he arrived, he couldn’t stop laughing and joined in on the fun.
The photographer got his equipment ready. He was actually perched upon the counter like a bird.
In order to make this work, we all had to be good actors and be synchronized with each other. We had to be quick and hope no real patients came into the ER.
It’s a small town so the doctor’s ETA is a matter of minutes depending on the type of patient being reported to him, and in this case it’s a, “CODE.” So we call doctor #1, the hospital’s popular surgeon and our play goes into………..READY, ACTION!
A spooky surprise
The trauma room door is closed and all the players are in position.
Respiration therapy is ventilating skeleton man, Jerry is team leader and positioned by the crash cart and has the defibrillator paddles in his hands, talking like this is a real code in progress, while I am doing CPR and counting out loud compressions.
Jerry pretends to defibrillate the patient and to administer the course of emergency drugs, while the house supervisor is recording the whole incident.
In walks the doctor swiftly, with mouth agape and a wonderful surprised look on his face when he looks at all of us and, SNAP, SNAP, SNAP, the flashes go off. He is more surprised that his picture was taken by a photographer that he knows.
He bursts out laughing until his side hurts and then everyone is laughing.
The doctor says, “That was the best Halloween I’ve ever had” and he went home to share his story with his family.
The same happened for doctor #2, he was all laughs.
Doctor #3 was the youngest of the bunch, the cutest, and saved for last.
We made his day.
I have a picture of him smirking, walking toward me with his hands out-stretched in the choking position just for me, because he knew I was the brain behind the prank.
Yes, I’m the prankster and I have many more stories to tell one day.
It was all in good fun.
We made wonderful memories that night for all of us and took pictures to reflect back on.
Laughter is the best medicine.
It takes only one idea to move a mountain or make a dream come true. Stay motivated, energetic, creative, humorous and most of all, stay in love with nursing.