I don't want no Scrubs.....Hospital Scrubs, that is.

Submitted into Contest #121 in response to: Write about someone in a thankless job.... view prompt

6 comments

Fiction

I had already woken up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, or late morning I should say. Groggy and sleepy eyed, I creep out of bed slowly as I sluggishly make my way down the hall and begin my mid morning routine. I started the coffee pot, just as I do every single day at this same time. While the sweet aroma of my vanilla bean coffee saturated the air around me, I fumble around in the cabinets and pull out my favorite coffee mug; the one I had bought at one of the campgrounds that I adore so much. I favor this cup greatly, even with the tiny chip on the lip of the mug....I still choose this one most days. I've always thought sometimes the oldest things in life, usually turned out to be the best things. I flip through my grocery list of items that I plan on getting early this afternoon before I go to work. If I time it just right, I will have just enough time to grab one of my favorite club sandwiches at the quirky little sandwich shop that is a few blocks away from where I do my shopping. I tell myself the same thing every week when I do my grocery shopping as I stop to get the sandwich, "This will be the last time I buy one, seeing as I JUST left the grocery store with a cart full of food." I smirk to myself at the thought of it, damn well knowing that I am lying to myself.....that "sandwich" is a weekly tradition of mine, a guilty pleasure of sorts if you will. I giggle to myself, something I do often....but it is short lived as I cuss out loud, after stubbing my toe on the door jam leading to the bedroom. I turn on the same music mix to get my blood pumping and jumpstarted for the day.....an array of classic rock, country, hip hop, etc. I hobble over to the closet, babying my poor little toe-only to realize that my work uniforms that are supposed to be hanging in my closet and waiting for me to put on, are NOT there. Perfect. The pink scrubs are ones that are not easily missed hanging in a closet full of mostly dark and lighter colored clothing. The pink always reminds me of the color of the lips of a flamingo.....IF flamingos had lips. Haha. The flamingo attribute, is an inside joke with one of the girls that works with me. With my throbbing toe, and soon to be headache I retrace my steps and realize that I must have left my scrubs in the dryer. I drag myself down the hall and hang on to the handrail as I make my way down the basement steps....God forbid, I fall down them with my gimp of a toe and end up breaking my damn leg too, ha. I open up the dryer, no scrubs. Great. They are left in the washer. I was hoping this was not going to be an indication of how my work shift was going to be. I throw my scrubs in the dryer and plop down on the bottom step of the basement. To kill time, I waste it on the internet of course...you know, the usual social media apps. By now, you may be thinking that I am some sort of nurse or have a career in the medical field, by my work attire being scrubs. However, this is not the case. I do work at a hospital and in a hospital setting, but I do not do any kind of heroic, life saving, and life changing work like so many do. My momma, was one of those people...a veteran nurse if you will, she lived for her career and the people who she cared for. I am a housekeeper for the hospital. It is not the most glamorous of jobs, and it is definitely not the bread winning career of the year by any means. But, it does bring home the bacon as folks say, it pays the bills and leaves a little after...if I am lucky. I stumbled upon this job a few years ago and have became comfortable in my work routine and coworkers. Each day I pull my slightly, beat up, but trusty old pickup truck into the parking garage-being selective of where I park. I pull in, grab my "work bag" and proceed to climb out of my vehicle, or more like fall I should say...seeing as I am a natural klutz, my Momma should of named me Grace for the amount of times that I have been a victim of my own accident prone self. Just as I get a few steps away from my truck, I realize that I did not lock it. I do not have a fancy car, with a fancy key fab.....I'm old school, haha. I had to turn around and manually push the little lock kabobber thingie down on the top of the driver side door. I thought to myself as I walked away from my vehicle, on why I even lock my vehicle....I have nothing of great value to be stolen in it. If some horrid soul wants to break in, all they will get is a straw wrapper, $2.33 in change, and a flyer for a car wash fundraiser that one of the local high school basketball teams were putting on. So, have at it. Speaking of that carwash, it is probably something I should consider going to...seeing as my truck looked like it had not had a good wash since the 80's. I make my way through the sliding glass, electric doors and paint myself with a smile on my face as I dodge people left and right, making their way to here and there throughout the hospital corridors. I finally reached the elevator and hit the basement button with my elbow to proceed to clock in. After a few clanks and bumps, the elevator doors squeak open and I am met by a bustle of the first shifters eagerly waiting to hit the time clock and go home to their lovely abodes. After listening to the older women cluck and complain like a bunch of hens, they finally move the hell out of my way enough so I can slide my timecard in the machine. I of course, left my lunchbox at home...which I just now noticed, so I once again cuss to myself at the thought of having to go buy lunch in the cafeteria tonight. But, I got over that quickly as I was reminded that this would just be an opportunity to get my favorite, "healthy" meal....a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and fries, with a Mountain Dew. Ha. Seeing as I am only 19, and my metabolism can handle itself fairly well.....eating like crap like that does not affect me too much. Ask me again in about 10 years and we shall see if my viewpoint changes. I spin the dial on my lock in the breakroom until it flies open. I throw my bag in and lock it back up. Before heading to get my supplies, I throw 75 cents into the coke machine and grab a pop. I mutter a hello and a few words to Wanda, who has worked in this department for 20 years.....and she would make sure you and anyone else did not forget it either. It was like clockwork. Without being rude, I always tried to make a point to say a few words to her upon arriving for my shift, because she always came across as a lonely woman to me. Although, others would tell you different, probably calling her a Witch...and that is putting it mildly. Yes, she had her moments and maybe a lot of them, but me being me....saw past them, most of the time. I walk out of the breakroom and take a sharp right, and then a sharp left and grab my keys to unlock the janitors closet which my cleaning cart was always kept. I pulled the mop bucket out, poured my chemicals in and turned on the water. As the water was filling up, I waltzed over to the office where I signed out a walkie talkie for the night. God forbid, you do not sign the damn thing out and your supervisor has to go on a witch hunt to find you, only to demand you add a laundry list of other tasks and areas to clean, already on top of your heavy workload as it is. It would be such an awful tragedy, if the supervisor was to get out of his worn out office chair and stop shoving Lay's Potato Chips into his mouth long enough to strip a bed of sheets, or clean a mirror or two. I turn the water off and grab a new box of gloves, trash bags, and rags...or excuse me, "washcloths"....I was to use correct terminology when referring to the "supplies" that we all had to use. I grab my clipboard and flip over the page and to the list of rooms and floors that I am responsible for tonight. Seeing as it was Friday night, I always was responsible for cleaning rooms on the pediatric unit, ICU, and daily outpatient rooms in the radiology department. I also would have to pick up extra floors and rooms if we were short staffed or overwhelmingly busy. Generally, this was the case most of the time working in this department. I start my routine and not even 5 minutes into cleaning, I hear this rugged, raspy voice of Louise...a nurse on the 5th floor. This gives me the indication that once again, we are understaffed and overfilled on patients in the hospital. Louise was one of the nurses whom I was not too fond of, she always seemed to have a chip on her shoulder and everything was a damn emergency to her. Yeah, maybe when her damn little debbie snacks didn't want to come out of the vending machine. She rarely smiled, or talked. She belted out once again over the walkie talkie, letting me know she had 3 rooms on the 5th floor needing to be cleaned and that one of them was stat, seeing as their was a patient needing to be put in. I rush down the hall and to the shitty elevator, with the shitty noises and horrid music and ride it to the 5th floor. I roughly shove my cart out the elevator door and into the landing. I double check to make sure I have all the right supplies and head to the first room. I walk in and my jaw drops. By the looks of it, you would think I walked into the zoo....with how these people left the room in a mess. I am not blaming the patient itself, but more so the guests.....99 percent of the time, it is always the "house guest" who leaves the room looking like a tornado ripped through it. I snap back to reality, and tunnel in on the task ahead. I rip off the sheets, blankets, pillowcases, etc and throw them in the corner. By the time I finished all of that, beads of sweat begin to surface on my forehead. I glance over at the thermostat and take a double glance, these people had it set on 82! I walk over and annoyingly turn it down and flip on a desk fan that was sitting on the tv tray next to the bed. The TV was left on and the sounds of the wheel spinning on wheel of fortune ring throughout the room. I continue to get all the trash laying around on the chairs, counters, under the bed and put it in the trash bag. I take the industrial sized broom and twist and turn it on the smooth wood floor, like I am participating in some ancient dance or ritual around some blazing fire in some far away country. Once I sweep all the muck into a pile, I walk to the bathroom and spray down the toilet, mirror, showers, and handles. I let that soak and precede back to the main room. I then begin to work on cleaning the bed, this is one of the most vital spots when cleaning a hospital room. It is important to make sure you wash every nook and cranny on that bed, making sure everything gets disinfected properly. The last thing you want is some poor, unsuspecting soul to be the next patient in this bed and they end up leaving the hospital worse then when they initially arrived, all because of someone not cleaning properly or halfway doing it. I was drenched in sweat by the time I finished putting the work in on the bed. I make my way down the hallway to the laundry cart to gather the correct bedding. Low and behold, the cart is practically empty and either the shift before mine, or the current shift have not yet made a trip to refill the missing bedding. I roll my eyes and grab my phone out of my pocket and text my friend who works in the laundry department and asked to have some things brought up. Texting was much easier then wasting time going back to my cleaning cart to get the walkie talkie. A few seconds later, I hear a ping on my phone. I check the message where he replied he was on his way with the bedding, as well with a smart ass jokingly remark to go with. This was something that was done often between the two of us, made the work day go by more quickly. Working in a place like this and doing the job that myself and others do, laughter and humor is a must every once in awhile....to break the tension, and to keep us from killing one another, haha. The bedding arrived and I put everything on the bed in the proper order. I refilled the trashcans with the liners, made sure everything was in it's proper place, did one last look over and then wrote my signature note for the impending patient who was arriving next, this was something I did for every room after I cleaned it. It was nothing special, just a simple hello and a few kind words with a smiley face scrawled at the end by yours truly. It was something I did to add a little extra sunshine to an already gloomy situation, of being in the hospital. I waddled myself down to the nurses station and let my best friend, Louise know that I was finished with her stat room. She quickly mumbled ok and something else, but I couldn't make it out in between the fistful of snack cakes she was inhaling in between words. I wryly smiled and went on my way. On to the next rooms on this floor. I finished the two rooms I was assigned to on the floor and soon after it was lunch time. I tiredly made my way to the cafeteria and approached the counter where the angry old man with glasses was every single night. No smile. No Hello. No Greeting. Just blank stares. Me, being me....said hello, used proper manners and ordered my supper....all while cussing him out in my head for being such a shit head with poor social skills. A day here and there, I can understand....as far as having bad days. But, if this is an every day thing, you have some problems. I pay the cashier, find my usual table and sit down. I finish eating and then go back to my assigned areas and begin my lengthy list of tasks, that seems to be growing. The clock ticks on and time seems to be passing slowly, even with being busy and me continually getting interrupted to ping pong all over the hospital picking up the slack and demand of others. Finally, it is about 15 minutes before quitting time. I take my cart and shove it in the closet. I then drag the two heavy trash bags that were attached to my cart-out to the dock and into the trash compactor. I drag myself to the office and sit the walkie talkie on the charger and flip the light off. I grab my things out of the locker and arrive at the time clock, the clock struck midnight and I swiftly swipe my card and make a beeline for the elevator doors. Grave yard shift comes in and tries to gossip and bitch, which I am rarely in the mood for by the time my shift ends. I smile, nod, and quickly walk down the hall through those sliding glass doors, once again. I unlock my beat up, old, but again trusty pick up truck and climb on it. I toss my bag to the passenger seat and turn the engine on, noticing the gas light is on. This is nothing new, for me that is. I huff and puff at myself about it before putting my truck into reverse and backing out. I stop at the gas station, put $20 dollars in and finally make it home. I strip off my dirty scrubs and make sure I put them in the washer before hopping in the shower. I shower and clean all the filth of the day off of me, before climbing into bed and turning the tv on. Soon enough, I find myself drifting off to sleep, only to be awaken in the morning to do the same thing all over again.

November 22, 2021 23:25

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6 comments

Leyli Yuldashova
12:34 Dec 02, 2021

As I see, it is your first story here. You started well. Good luck!👍

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Boutat Driss
13:43 Nov 30, 2021

i love this tale. You're amazing

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00:40 Nov 28, 2021

Its always nice to get some insight into the jobs of others, especially those who are taken for granted. Some feedback- On your next story, I would add some paragraphs. It will encourage more people to read your story and provide a better flow.

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Sarah Belcher
01:57 Nov 28, 2021

Thank you for your insight.

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Tricia Shulist
22:58 Nov 27, 2021

You really captured the tedium of the job. I liked how the protagonist was able to show a bit of humanity — the notes. Question, though. Did she like or hate her job, or was she just doing her job, without judgement. There was no plan for the future. Just wondering. Thanks for this.

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Sarah Belcher
02:00 Nov 28, 2021

She was just doing her job...and had an overall neutral stance on it. She was young, but she also saw things a bit differently than most people her age, like you mentioned with leaving the notes. At the time, she wasn't looking at doing that job for the rest of her life. Thanks for the insight.

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