Standing ovation

It is not common to receive a standing ovation in the funeral industry for simply doing your job. In fact, it is not something I have ever heard anyone say has happened during the day to day tasks we are assigned, it usually takes doing something extraordinary, unless you’re me. That may sound like I’m bragging, but that is only because I am. I have never heard of anyone else being applauded by a room full of nurses in the middle of the night, simply because I did my job, on my own, without help, but there ya have it, it happened and now I am most definitely bragging about it.

It was a late night. I do not remember what time I received the call, but it was at a hospital which, at this firm, meant that I was going on my own. Sleepy and tired, I dragged my cot to the required floor and started looking for room numbers and the nurses station located closest to it. It is pretty standard that before you go carting off deceased bodies you let someone in the hospital know you are doing it and sign something that says you did it. We can’t have people just running off with dead bodies, that could assuredly result in any number of disasters. I found a nurse behind a desk ticking away at a computer, focused on her work. Hospitals at night are strangely quiet, it’s not like during the day with blaring lights, when there is a hustle and bustle of people with flowers and balloons or hospital beds carrying patients for tests or surgeries. The hallways are dark, people are sleeping, the only noises are the beeps and clicks of monitors and oxygen, or the occasional voices of staff gossiping about the day crew. I parked my cot and approached the desk of the still working nurse, as she looked up her concentrated brow turned to one of friendliness and smiles and she asked, “How may I help you?” I explained I was with the mortuary to receive so and so who had passed away. Kind and helpful she pulled out the paperwork, verified the room number and pointed me in the direction I needed to go. As I walked to my cot I heard from my back “Where is your partner?”, “I am here by myself” I explained. Silence. “Oh, well I can’t help you right now.” She told me with a new furrow and almost put out demeanor that mortuaries cannot expect the hospital staff to be at their beck and call all hours of the night. I was getting used to this resistance from people. I will admit that being a small female has its limitations but after some time working in this field, constantly having to prove myself, I had a bag of tricks to do what was needed and of course, it didn’t hurt that I was wickedly strong in those days. I returned her comment with “I got this, I don’t need any help.”

Incredulity crossed her face, questions ran silently through her gaze at me and I whisked away my cot to the room that held my passenger before she could argue. I did my job. I raised the hospital bed up to be just a little higher than my cot, scrunched the sheet as far as I could under the deceased and rolled them away from me to grab the ends. Like a cozy burrito. I grabbed the edges of the sheet and simply pulled the person onto my cot, all by myself, just like a dozen times before. I made my way back to the hall and surely a waiting nurse. As I approached the desk, to my surprise, there were 5-6 people gathered next to the nurse, all standing, probably waiting for me to come out and ask for help. A sweet and glowing smile spread across the nurses’ face as I walked up with my cot, secured with the body of the deceased. “Wow, that is what I call girl power!” She exclaimed, “We have never had a woman come here by herself!” “You go girl!” So, with that I walked down the hall with my pride on my sleeve and all the people standing giving me applaud that I did my job like a boss! It may be a little thing to some of you, yet in that time, in that area, it was unheard of. Yep, I will brag about that.hospital-207690_1920.jpgPicture provided by pixabay

2 thoughts on “Standing ovation

  1. How I would love to have watched that evidence of MY GIRL power. You have always been determined, and if there is any way under heaven and earth for something to happen, you will be the one to do it. Congratulations on showing what doing your job well looks like. Hopefully, the nursing staff stood a little taller themselves, with new conviction to rise to a higher work ethic in the performance of their own jobs. I loved this inspiring story.

Leave a Reply

About Chelsea Tolman