Not Ready To Go

I work on a cardiac/general medicine ward in a large University Hospital. I have seen many people move on from this life to the next. Some were unexpected deaths and others occurred after a long battle with disease. Most people who battle a long and debilitating illness are prepared and for the most part have accepted that death is inevitable while others seem to fight with everything to hold onto this life.

The patient in room 24 was one of the latter. He had been battling cardiomyopathy (an enlarged, poorly functioning heart) for many years and seemed angry that his life was ending. This anger is normal and all people who have a terminal illness experience it as one of the stages of grieving. The final stage of grieving is acceptance. This poor man never seemed to reach this stage though he had lived a long productive life.

He was in room 24 for many weeks before death claimed him. But as life in a hospital goes, his body was removed; the room and bed were cleaned and another patient was moved in. It was then that the trouble began.

This occurred in the summer and it was very hot on the ward. I thought it odd that there was a spot of extreme cold near the nurses station and commented on it. Someone blamed it on the air conditioning but there was no vent nearby. The spot was about two feet wide and you could step in and out of it. I must tell you, it was strange.

That same day I was working in a room down the hall from room 24 when I heard a loud thunk. I walked into the hall to see what it was and one of my coworkers came out of the room just across from room 24. She has a strange look on her face and I asked her what was the matter. She said she saw one of the lids from the food trays fly across the room. We walked into room 24 to see if the patient inside needed help or if they were angry about something. The room was empty. The patient was gone to a test. As we were leaving a second lid flew across the room and hit the wall. By then we were really shaken up but I had the presence of mind to turn around and speak the name of the patient who had died the day before. He must have just wanted someone to acknowledge his presence because there were no further disturbances and the cold spot disappeared.

Room 24 has been quiet since then and I hope the spirit of its prior occupant has found peace at last.

Submitted by Missouri, USA