Tales From All The Comforts of Home Hospital – Edition 6*


Sarah Underkofler, Editor

If you missed part 5, click here!

 *This story is a creative interpretation of all real events. Names and locations have been changed to maintain privacy.


I scrambled for my plastic gown and struggled to put it on as I tore down the hall and down the stairs to the trauma bay. As I passed by the ambulance bay, I started to see little tan stickers almost forming a trail from ambulance 3 down to trauma. Along with these anomalies were bootprints, but not of mud. These prints were orange! I stopped for long enough to bend down and get a better look to see that these orange footprints looked like the inside of a pumpkin. And wait, those weren’t tan stickers lining the halls — those were seeds! This only sparked more questions for me. What the heck could have happened in trauma not even 5 minutes ago? I decided to put on a pair of surgical booties just to be cautious.

As I continued to sprint down the halls, the oddest smell came to my nose. Was that, pumpkin pie? The cafeteria only serves pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Wait, the cafeteria is on the other side of the hospital, what is going on? These questions just kept coming the closer and closer I got to trauma.

Finally, I bursted through the double doors, pretty much out of breath. I never ran track in high school or in college for a reason: I hate running. Who knew that being a doctor required this much physical activity! I looked around and assessed the complete and utter chaos revolving around me. So much mayhem, yet everything flowed like a well oil machine. Multiple people seemed to be shouting at once, yet somehow everyone was exactly where they needed to be with what they needed. It was pretty refreshing honestly.

Dr. Shantin then noticed me standing by the door waiting for instructions. She came on up to me and filled me in on what happened with our patient, Oliver Baggerly. Apparently, Mr. Baggerly was at a shooting range, doing some target practice. However, this was no ordinary shooting range. Instead of shooting guns with normal bullets in them, this range had customers shooting pumpkins. Yes, you read that right. PUMPKINS. Those enormous orange fruits that you carve pictures and faces into for Halloween. Pumpkins. Apparently, this is done with what looks like a jumbo, oversized paintball gun. Our new friend Oliver over here, sitting on the table with a bloody face that didn’t look quite right, had been hit by a flying pumpkin launched at him by one of his dear friends. Talk about poor friendship (imagine the tension between them now. Yeesh). Poor Oliver never asked to be assaulted by a seemingly harmless pumpkin. Because of one stupid decision on his friend’s part, Mr. Baggerly had a face covered in blood (major surgery would be needed to put him back together properly), and he had to have a cricothyrotomy (fancy medical word for putting an air tube so he can breathe through a cut hole in his throat) because his face was too smooshed for regular intubation. Long story short, Oliver was a hot mess. After I scrubbed the stale pumpkin smell off my hands for what seemed like an eternity, I noted that Oliver was stabilized and sent up to plastics for face reconstruction. 

After that wild experience, the rest of the night seemed pretty uneventful. I gave some stitches to a woman who sliced her hand open carving a jack-o-lantern, so nothing too major.

11 o’clock rolled around, and my shift finally came to an end. Phew. Luckily, we didn’t have too many Halloween disasters like I’ve heard about in years past. Apparently, ATCHH is known for some particularly famous Halloween stories, but that’s another story for another day. As I was packing up my backpack all ready to go home and flop on my bed, Carson walked through the door. Carson and I have been dating for almost two years after we met at a hockey game in late November of 2018. I looked up at him to see a smile spread across his face. I glanced down in his arms and there he was holding a pumpkin. 

“Michelle, I figured you had a long day today. Do you want to carve a pumpkin to get your mind off things?” Carson says as he walks up to me.

Honestly, this is probably the last thing I wanted to see. After dealing with Mr. Baggerly and his mess, just looking at the pumpkin cradled in Carson’s arms made me want to curl up on the warmth sucking tile floor of the ER hallway to take a nap, and it made me feel like I wanted to puke. All at the same time. What am I supposed to tell him? Do I tell him how tired I am and that I am not in the mood, or do I suck up my own exhaustion to not hurt his feelings?

Stay tuned for the next publication of Unleashed to find out how Michelle will react to Carson’s generous, yet poor timed, stress reliever.