Thursday, April 02, 2009

The One Time

I am not very good at playing April fool’s pranks on people. In fact, I am not very good at playing pranks at all. Quite often, I will get blamed for other mischief making even though I may be completely innocent. I am not sure why I am the first person suspected when practical jokes are made. I blame my red hair. Maybe it is my sense of humor. Maybe it is my loud mouth. Maybe I just look guilty. But because I am always a suspect, I rarely even try to pull an April fool’s joke.

But there was this one time.

I worked with a wonderful OB tech. She was smart, quick and caring. She got along well with the nurses and all of the OB docs except one. I can't really blame her for not getting along with this one doc, no one got along with her. Not even the other doctors in her practice. When she was on call, the nurses would dread calling her. So this wonderful tech and this mean little doctor had quite a few altercations in the OR. The doctor was rude, she yelled, she threw instruments, she behaved in some unprofessional ways. The nurses and techs were constantly writing her up and patients were making complaints. It was only a matter of time before she would be leaving, we hoped.

One March 31st, a long time ago, the wonderful tech and I were working and the evil doctor was on call. The tech went on her lunch break and I got a call from the ER. They had a 6 month pregnant woman and the doctor thought she might have appendicitis. The attending doctor wanted us to evaluate her and the baby to make sure everything was okay obstetrically before taking her to have her appendix out. The ER nurse just happened to be a childhood friend of our tech, so I asked her if she wanted to play an April fool’s joke since was now after midnight. She agreed and said she went to high school with the patient (this was a small town) and she was sure she would play along.

I called our tech, told her we were doing an emergency c-section with an appendectomy. I told her that the evil doctor was the attending physician and to add a little more fuel to the fire, I told her that the only other doctor in the whole hospital she didn't get along with would be the assistant. SHE HAD A SPAZ. It was 3 am, she was doing an appendectomy, something she had never done before, with two doctors she could not stand and who had both been extremely rude to her in the OR. She stomped around muttering and slamming things for a good 20 minutes. I almost told her because she looked so freaked out. Finally, I told her she needed to get it together, this patient needed the surgery and she was coming to us; there was nothing we could do. She stopped talking and got to work.

The ER nurse had stuffed blankets on top of the patient's belly to make her look more pregnant. The patient moaned and rolled back and forth on the gurney to make it seem more realistic. As we wheeled her into the room, our wonderful tech sucked it up, stopped complaining about the doctors and started reassuring the patient that everything would be alright. We slid the gurney right next to the hospital bed so the patient could slide over and the tech pulled back the sheets. It was then she noticed the bunch of blankets. The patient hollered out, "April Fools!" I have never seen anyone more relieved to have a practical joke played on them in my whole life. I am still not sure if she has forgiven me for it.

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