Midnight Shadows

black ghost

 

While most of the world around you sleeps, the little terrors crawl up the back of your neck, and knock to get it.

You know better than to let them enter, but the coldness on the back of your neck becomes intolerable and you just open a small crack.

Slowly the thoughts begin to sleep and slide and ooze … like a thick black oil that darkens everything  it touches.

The 2 am delusion has begun to awaken… and the shadows now begin to form. …in your mind….

…and in the left far corner of the room.. ..

You watch as the shadows melt into a form. The form will slither and sway from side to side, inevitably taking on the shape of something ominous. The night’s shadows play harmless tricks…or so people say. But as you blink your eyes once…twice…and again…that form becomes more solid and lifelike.

The veil between the daytime reality and the icy cold hand on the back of your neck becomes blurred, as you pull the blankets up and cover your head.

Only your fingertips peek out from underneath the blanket that you have diminishing faith in to protect you.

And you wonder if these black shadows started in your own mind…how they are now standing above you.

You can’t see them.

The blanket is covering your eyes.

But you know just the same.

The darkness is real … as long as you focus on it.

Your attention gives it power and makes it grow.

And as you focus your attention on not focusing on the shadows….they snicker at you with contempt.

Sleep tight!

( image souce from Pinterest)

 

 

The Prison Woman and the Maiden

Walking past the black iron bars

Of the outdoor prison, in the square

Where people were taken for reasons unknown

And locked behind the black iron bars there

A maiden felt her wrist taken hold

by a prisoner dressed in back and gold

The inmate was pretty, but worse for wear

She wore withered flowers in her hair

The maiden had never been near this dark place

But she saw great compassion in the prisoner’s face

The worn woman held onto the young woman’s  hand tight

and pulled her in close under the evening star light 

The sky was filled with seas of silvery  stars

The maiden saw the prison woman had deep painful scars

“Take this and listen to me”

Said the woman so sweet,

“This small velvet bag contains rubies to keep”

The maiden drew close to the woman to hear

Then secrets she whispered into her young ear…

“If by one the rubies glare

Be alert for the monster’s stare

If by two or more they light

Avert  your gaze and take swift flight

If by 8 or 9 they should shine

There is no wasting time

Hide the gems and claim to be blind

The creature is already inside your mind

Only the stones of red can tell

When you are close to a creature of hell…”

She bade the maiden hide the gift in her dress

And run very fast without turning back

She said to keep running no matter the sounds

She might hear behind her….the creature was coming  ’round

“Now run and run fast

 Heed well  what I say

Those rubies of red will save your young life one day

Stay on your path and do not get distracted

By anyone along who calls you sweet names

Hold fast to the red gems and keep them quite safe

Their light of the truth will save you

from shame and disgrace”

So the maiden held fast to the gems she kept hidden

And ran like the prisoner woman had bidden

She wanted to turn and look back if she dared

But the prison woman had forbade her to peek

The monster was coming and the woman knew all too well

What would happen to her if she looked

His blue eyes would meet hers

And his trance would be strong

And the rubies would  light up in vain

This monster was a powerful one

And the maiden would fall

For his charm and the song 

he would sing just for her

The prisoner watched the young maiden go straight

Along the path and away from the gate

Stuck behind black iron bars

The woman looked up at the moon and the stars

She couldn’t get free, but her truth was outside

No bars could hold the rubies of red

The gems brought her hope

For the one she passed them to

Having fashioned them out of her blood

Over time and from terrible pain

The red stones lifted her name

Outside of the prison-master’s walls

Then the screaming began

But the maiden never turned

She knew she possessed the keys

in the form of the ruby stones

to shed light on the dark ones

In the small velvet bag that was hidden in her dress

And to turn and look at the creature

Would likely mean her death

If one gem would light, she would be very cautious

If two or more glimmered, she’d turn her back

If 8 or 9 burned bright, she would run through the night

Because those rubies of red were like red flags of light

 

 

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Writing Prompt #16

This writing is for the Flash Fiction challenge from The Secret Keeper  blog. You can see the details of the challenge HERE.   The five words that had to be included in the writing are | COMFORT | HEAD | SPACE | MELT | WICKED |

 

Faith Versus the Facts

A decision had to be made as to whether to accept his words as the truth, or to confront him with the facts. She had always taken comfort in his honesty and openness with her. 

She gazed into his eyes as he talked, but in her head she was playing out the events of the last few hours before she met him at the restaurant. As he reached over and touched her hand, she remembered how this used to make her heart melt. 

The evidence said that he was lying to her right now. The female voice on the phone….the airline tickets….

She knew if she accepted what the facts pointed to that she would also have to question all of the other times he told her he was going away on business.

If he were lying to her now, while looking into her eyes, then it would mean that he was not the person he portrayed to her. It would mean he had a more sinister and wicked nature than she had ever considered. 

If she were to accept the facts, then she would be forced to re-write her entire reality,  for entire time they had been together. 

There was no space in between his words, as his continuous talking continued. It was almost as if he was doing this intentionally. So she took another sip of her wine to dull her senses. Then, rather than going over the facts as they were, she began to mentally re-write them and the meaning behind them. 

It was less painful to re-frame the facts to fit what she wanted to believe, than to have to change her belief to fit the facts.

 

 

My Crazy Ride Home from the Hospital

This is the funny story about how I got home from the hospital. Actually I probably should not think of this as funny but at the time I had two choices that I could think of. One was to be in  utter terror and mental upset. The other was to try to see the situation  as if I were watching it on a sit com on the tv and to be the viewer who was laughing because the situation was so wrong.

If you notice, many of the situations in the Situation Comedies are really not funny ..at least they would not be funny if you were actually in them. But it is the absurdity of the wrongness of the situation that makes you laugh in sympathy for the character and there is a feeling of relief that it is not you !

So, I originally went to the hospital that is across the street from my house for obvious reasons. They did some tests including a CT scan and they decided that they needed to admit me to the hospital. The problem was that they had no beds and there were going to be no beds available in the foreseeable future.

So they called over to their sister hospital which is about 20 minutes away, up the road. I did not want to go to this hospital because my car would be left at this one and I had no idea how I would get home. The nurse that was talking to me was standing about 15 feet away from me.

She was very loud and did not seem to see this situation as being worthy of a more private conversation. She stayed standing in the middle of the main area and did not come up to my bed to talk to me. She was telling me that all I had to do was tell one of my friends to pick me up when I was released from the other hospital. They were going to take care of the transport to get me to the hospital.

I told her that I had no one who could pick me up at that hospital. I was afraid to get stuck there with no way home. Could they please check again about the beds here and maybe I would have to stay in the ER for the day.

“All you have to do is to get one of your friends to pick you up” she insisted.

“I have no friends,” I told her , “and no family members that would want to help me”

I further explained to her that I had one person that usually would help me with this kind of thing, but she is not in a position to do that at this time. My ex sister in law is the person who would normally help me. But she has a baby that was born premature. This poor little baby has been in the hospital for months.

She has been going back and forth to the hospital to nurse the baby and hold the baby every day for three months. Now this baby had grown stronger and had gained weight.

The baby was due be released from the hospital to come home for the first time within the next couple of days. This means she would be going to get the baby around the same day I was going to be released from the hospital. Then the baby would need around the clock special care because it was still a premature baby and needed extra care.

So this nurse said , “But it is only 20 minutes away!”

I tried to explain to her that 20 minutes was 40 minutes round trip and that did not count putting the baby into the car and out of the car. The baby needed to be home and not going inside of another hospital where it could pick up germs, since it was still weak.

But she kept talking loudly,”You must have a friend who can pick you up”

“No I have no friends.”

“But they only need to drive 20 minutes up the road, The hospital is just up the road!”

“I have no friends right now.”

“But it is only just up the road. It is not a big favor.”

“I have no one to help me and no one that really cares about me right now, except for my ex sister in law who cannot help me this week because of the little baby”

“But it is only 20 minutes away”

This went on for a while…longer than you could believe. I must have said “I have no friends” at least 7 or 8 times to her, and each time I was getting more teared up. She did not even notice and must have just thought I was being difficult or lying. Besides I was in pain from the infection and about to burst into tears.

Somehow the concept of someone not having any friends in the area and that did not have family that gave a shit, just did not click with her. She must have a very supportive family and lots of friends and just did not believe me. It must be nice !

It never occurred to her how embarrassed I was to keep saying “I have no friends and no family that will help me” out loud where everyone in the ER could hear me.

Eventually I gave up out of embarrassment. Everyone in the ER could hear about how I had no friends and that the nurse did not believe someone could have no friends that love near them, that had a car and were able to drive at the spur of the moment (they always tell you at the last minute that they are releasing you. They do not let you know the day before or even several hours before).

So I get put into an ambulance and drove me to the hospital that was 20 minutes away …in good traffic but not during rush hour. This is a main road that fills up and slows down during rush hour.

Three days later, they gave me absolutely no notice that they were releasing me.

One doctor had come in about 20 minutes before and told me that they were keeping me for another day. So I made  no effort to call anyone that might possibly pick me up…which would be my ex husband…and that was only possible if I gave him reasonable notice.

So then another doctor came is and said he wanted to release me right then. I told him I had no way to get home right then. I would need until the next day and that is if I was lucky enough that my ex would get me.

Then he offered to call me a cab but I did not have money to cover that long cab ride which would have been over 30 dollars plus a tip.

So they called social services who actually did arrange a ride for me. She said that medicaid would cover a ride under the “logistic care” part of the insurance. There was a van or something that was paid for by medicaid that transported people back and forth to appointments and hospitals etc. This sounded okay and I agreed.

A few times different people came to my room to tell me what vehicle would be picking me up and what time it would come. Each time the vehicle changed and the time changed.

Finally someone came and said to pack right now because there was an ambulance that would  transport me back to the other hospital where  my car was.

As you remember this is across the street from my house, so this was good. I had some trouble getting things together quickly and the some guy came up to my room with a wheelchair to take me downstairs while I was still scrambling to pack my stuff and make sure I did not leave any cell phone chargers or anything.

So this guy wheeled me down like we were in race. I almost dropped my stuff out of my lap because he was going so fast. Then we were waiting by the window  looking for an ambulance to show up. There was none.

There was a call that came to my cell phone.
I could not get it out fast enough but they left a message. This was a voice that had an accent and spoke quickly. The message sounded like “I am running late”.  I even let the fast wheelchair driving guy listen to it and he was not sure what it said either.

In the mean time this guy was enjoying himself by looking down my shirt, which no matter how many time I tried to adjust it higher, he kept looking. He was not very good at disguising the fact that he was trying to look down my shirt. He was standing about three feet right in front of me and I was sitting in the wheelchair. 

Most guys at are at least subtle when they look at your breasts. I asked him who he was as far as working in the hospital and he said he was a volunteer. Maybe it was his way to get close to women. Who knows…

So she called again and asked where I was. I asked where she was. She said I have been waiting for you outside. I have been waiting for 10 minutes.

I told her that I did not see any ambulance outside. Of course she was not in an ambulance, She was in a regular car, and I am not sure how she thought I would know which car was hers out of hundreds of cars in the lot.

So the guy that had been looking down my shirt got on my cell phone with her. She gave him directions to where her car was parked and he wheeled me out to the car. I got into the car and now the fun began….

This was a young girl who seemed nice, but when she started driving she was crazy. She drive like a taxi driver in New York City. She flew. She cut people off. She weaved in and out of the cars like she was weaving a tapestry.

The funny thing was that she actually used the blinker each time she changed lanes. She just kept grabbing that stick for the blinkers.

I was sure that the entire stick was just going to snap off at some point because she was abusing it so much. She just kept snapping it back up and down. I could not believe it did not snap off.

So I held onto whatever I could grab into in the car and held on for dear life. The whole time I was thinking about this character in a movie I saw once. This was when I found it funny.

This movie was called “Ghost Dad” and starred Bill Cosby. Have you ever seen it? There was an insane cab driver in this movie that Bill Cosby’s character ended up in a cab with.

This scene was so funny because you were not the one in the cab. So as I was in this cab with the girl, I pretended I was just watching this movie.

And the funny part of it was that this was the service provided by medicaid to get people home from the hospital safely. So  medicaid paid this huge hospital bill to save my life and then they sent me home in this cab with the crazy driver. Holy hell!

A Fun Sensual Silly Fantasy Starter For You This Morning…

A beautiful woman had been stranded on a deserted island, in the tropics, for many months. She was the only survivor of a terrible shipwreck which was caused by a drunk driving sea captain.

He had received previous SSWI tickets. (Sailing a Ship While Intoxicated ) tickets from the Coast but he was stupid and still drank while Sailing. His favorite drink was Jack Daniels.

Everyone died in the shipwreck except the woman in my story. Some of them drowned and others were eaten by sharks.

One of the men survived the shipwreck and was intending to swim to shore but was lured by a malicious mermaid out to sea

Our story character….   let us call her… “Sensualana” …swam to shore. She was a strong swimmer but still almost did not make the long distance.

She finally collapsed upon the shore and slept there exhausted for hours. Some pirates came and stole her clothes but did not take advantage of her.

I don’t know why. If you run unto them, you can ask them. I also do not know why they did not capture her or how in the world she did not wake up while pirates were tearing off her clothing.

When she awoke, she got herself up and went about the business of surviving on a tropical island. For the purposes of my silly story, she easily found shelter and learned how to get plenty of food.

She never thought about why she was naked or wondered where her clothes went.

She was creative and resourceful. She also had developed a great tan with no tan lines.. .since she was all alone on the island ….so she thought.

Little did she know that an indiginous tribe had been watching her. They knew the territory so well that they easily kept hidden from her, as a few of them watched her as she gathered her fruits and berries.

She entertained herself by singing and she had also fashioned a flute type of instrument out of a hollow wooden branch.

The men of the indiginous tribe  loved  to listen to her music. They found it stragely erotic and yet soothing.

Once a dolphin swam up to the shore to listen to Sensualana play her flute.

The music had magical powers and so the dolphin sprouted wings and began to fly…

Either that or Sensualla had eaten the wrong kind of wild  mushrooms for breakfast….

Alas, one of the tribal men fell madly in lust with her. One day he was watching her as she was fishing in the ocean.

He admired her resourcefulness and her ability to make fishing tools from what she found here and there on the island.

She caught many fish and knew she would have a feast for dinner.

She left her fish in a bucket on the shore and decided to take a swim in the water. She dove underneath the waves and swam.

The man did not see her for a minute or so and almost ran out of his hiding place to see if she was drowning.

Momentarily he saw her head come up out of the undulating waves. She swam closer to shore and the sunlight danced off of her golden long hair.

The man watched…  entranced. .. as the beautiful woman stood up in the water. The ocean water was waist deep and he could see the rest of her naked back.

Her curves were perfect and the man thought she must be a goddess.

Her hair hung down to her waist. She reached her arms up to run her fingers through her hair. As she turned, the man could see her from the front.

Her beauty was so stunning that he lost the strength in his knees. His foot moved and a branch he stepped upon made a noise.

She heard this and looked towards his direction. …..

What happens next is for your imagination to enjoy………:)

If anyone wants to continue the rest of the story in writing feel free to copy and paste this and then write your own ending. Simply designate where your part begins and credit my part to my blog.

Send link to me in the comments. Keep it a little silly or unrealistic,  in order to stay with the style and mood.

Have a lovely, creative day,

Annie<3

Folding Clothes with the Little One

This is a story about my little niece. She was 5 at the time of this story. Very cute and soft spoken.  She loves to fold clothes with me. I don’t think it is the clothes, as much as having my undivided attention.

There are lots of kids in her family and “one on one”  time is on short supply for her.

She always asks me if I have any clothes to fold. One day her grandmother (also the grandmother of my kids) had folded all of my clothes and left them on top of the washer.

Obviously she was trying to be being helpful…but Jade saw them and got all teary eyed. I thought my heart might break right there. 

All this sadness due to a pile of folded clothes….whatever to do?

I told her not worry because I had more clothes upstairs to fold. She said “Really ?”

“yes” I told her “Wait here while I bring these clothes upstairs to my apartment.  Then I will find the unfolded ones. In a few minutes I will call you upstairs to help me fold.”

Well she was very pleased and I made my way up the stairs with the folded clothes. 

I wonder if you have figured this one out yet ?   How well do you know me from reading my blog? What did Aunt Annie do?

Yep. I dumped all those folded clothes all over the floor and messed them all up in a big pile all over the place ! It was fun too.

 My daughter who was 11 at the time, saw me doing that. She is used to seeing me do weird things, but she was still curious. I told her Jade wanted to fold the clothes but your Grandma had already folded them.

Oh ! My daughter thought it was a grand idea !

I called Jade upstairs and she was happy to help me fold them. We had a little chat about all kinds of things.

I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said, “A Mermaid”

If you Can’t Find the Ice Scraper…Stay Out of the Kitchen !

My teenage daughter and I got into a conversation about her driving soon. She is 18 and I have to take her to get her learner’s permit soon.

I began mentioning safety rules and things like that. It was raining outside, which made me want to talk to her about rules for driving on slippery roads.

Somehow this conversation went into funny stories about what NOT to do with the car.

I told her that my mother once could not find the ice scraper. She was late for work so she decided to improvise.

She went into the kitchen…yes the kitchen… What do you think her tool of choice was?

No. you didn’t guess it. A butter knife! Yes, she scraped the windshield of my step father’s black cadillac with red interior with a butter knife.

Needless to say, he was not too happy with all the scratches all over the windshield.

But then….my daughter said she could top my story!

She said that a few winters ago, her grandmother (my ex husband’s mother) did something worse than the butter knife to the windshield.

I thought..what could be worse?

My daughter said “It was MUCH worse !” 

Well, I was in suspense.

So, the story starts the same way that my story did. 

The windshield was full of ice. She could not find the ice scraper.

SO………

She went into the kitchen….yes the kitchen..

Nope, not a butter knife.

She got out a pot and boiled some water. Yes….here it comes..

She poured boiling water all over the frozen windshield !

Yes, it cracked. It cracked all over the place. It made a terrible noise, which is what she noticed first and then a little crack that just kept going. Then more cracks.

Needless to say,  Grandpa was not happy when he came home.

So, both of my daughter’s grandmothers wrecked their windshields when they could not find the ice scraper, and decided to seek tools from the kitchen. .my mother and my ex husband;s mother.

So, the moral to the story is one of the following.

1. When you think you have the best story about your relatives….someone can top you !

2. If you can’t find the ice scraper….Stay Out of the Kitchen !

Lovely Story of Love in the Old folks Home

I had a lovely ten minutes at work this evening having a conversation with one of my elderly ladies. I was supposed to give her a shower but she decided to pass. I told her I had allotted the time for her so maybe we could chat , if she would like to. She is often in her room alone, so she was delighted.

I am aware that she is often seen with a handsome older man who also lives in the facility. I asked her about him and she blushed like a school girl !

She said that is her boyfriend and that they have been together for a couple of years. She was already living at the facility and met him shortly after he came there.

I love stories about how people met their husbands or boyfriends, so I just had to ask. She was so excited to be asked this question that her whole face just lit up!

She proceeded to tell me the cutest story about how they met. I ran home and typed it up..of course….You know, it is a blogger thing…

I changed the names of course. I just sent the story off to the Kindness blog because I thought it would be best placed there. So, I have given them the offering and hopefully you can read it soon. If for some reason they are too full for submissions, then I will post it here.

I know you all will love this story as much as I did. She was so cute how she blushed when she said his name. I loved it. She said she felt so blessed to have met him and that he chose her out of all the women at the facility.

There are always many more men than women at these facilities, so the the women are in the majority. The men that come can have more of a choice than the women do. That is just the way it is. So, if you are a man, this is something you can look forward to in old age!

These women are still very interested in men. They always notice if a new man arrives. Some of them wll even put on a little extra lipstick, when a new man is expected to be in the dining room that evening !

I bet you never knew !

I have time once in a while to visit in one of their rooms. When I have a few minutes, I always try to pick one of the ladies who I know is particularly lonely or who really likes company. When I watch the old movies with them, they always comment on the cute men in the movie!

One of them said to me once…(about the actor)…”Mmmm..I would have that man and there would be nothing left of him, when I was done with him!! ”

Just thought you might like to know. There is still sex drive in the 90’s. I don’t think that many people realize that, because you do not have the opportunity to speak with people that old, on a regular basis, like I do.

The Ghost of Room 221…New Jersey Nursing Home Ghost

This is the story about the ghost in room 221. This is a true story and I will be describing the actual events as I witnessed them that evening. I was inspired to write up this ghost story after reading a ghost story that I enjoyed on another blog, which you can check out HERE. 

I was working as a nursing assistant in a nursing home in New Jersey. I had five rooms assigned to me on this night. Each room had two roommates living in it.

It was dinner time, and all of my residents were at dinner, in the dining room. We had a call bell system, similar to that which you may have experienced in a hospital. If a resident needed help in the room, there was a call bell on a string , by their bed and they could pull the string to ring for help.

If the call bell was activated, it would call my pager in my pocket, and also call the computer at the front desk. When the secretary at the desk received the call, she would announce it over the speaker.

On this particular night, the call bell rang in room 221. As I said, the residents were at dinner. I went to the room to check, because you never know of someone may have wandered into the room. There are a lot of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease residents in the nursing home. They do wander into rooms by accident, from time to time.

When I arrived at room 221, there was no one there. I cancelled the call bell and assumed that maybe it had been rung before dinner, and I had forgotten to cancel it. I told the secretary that I had cancelled the bell, and let her know that no one was in the room.

A few minutes later, the call bell rang again. The secretary started scolding me for not answering the bell. I reminded her that she knew I had cancelled it. This particular secretary did not like me and seemed to enjoy telling me that I did not know how to do my job.

I went to the room and cancelled the bell again and informed her that the bell had been cancelled and that both of the roommates were in the dining room, eating dinner. The dining room was right in front of the desk and she could see into it. I gestured towards the dining room for her to see, but she just grumbled something about me neglecting my residents.

This went on a few more times, until the nasty secretary reported me to the supervising nurse, for not answering my call bells. I explained to the nurse that I had cancelled the bell each time and that there was no one in the room.

The nurse thought there must be something making the call bell stick, so that it was not cancelling. This was not true because there is a cancel message that is sent to my pager each time a call bell is cancelled.

That evening I had received a cancel message each time I had cancelled the bell. I knew it  was ringing from scratch each time.

The nurse and I went together and she cancelled the bell. I asked her to please let the nasty secretary know, so that she would stop fussing at me. (I did not quite phrase it that way…)

So, of course about 5 minutes later,  the bell rang again, The secretary started yelling at me about the fact that if the bell rings too long, the computer will call the Director of Nursing at her home. This was an overreaction on her part, because the bells have to ring for 20 minutes straight before the director is called.

I tried to explain this to the secretary. I told her that at no time has this call bell rung for more than a few minutes before I had cancelled it. Besides it was not my fault that the bell kept ringing. Again, she mumbled something about me not taking care of the residents when they call.

Needless to say, this woman was not my favorite person to work with. Of all the people I have worked with over the years, she caused me the most anxiety.

So, the call bell rang again and I got the nurse myself this time. I asked her to please have that secretary call maintenance, since there was clearly something wrong with the bell. She agreed that there was a maintenance issue and asked the secretary to call the maintenance guy.

Well, he arrived and found me to ask what had been happening. I explained the whole story to him and told him that I could not keep going into this room to cancel this mystery bell. It was beginning to interfere with my other work.

He was compassionate to my situation and went right away to get tools to fix the bell. He came back and worked on the bell. He found me 15 minutes later and told me that he believed it should be fixed okay now. He said to call him, if there were any further problems with the bell.

After about 15 minutes, the bell rang again. The resident were now sitting in the TV room and no one was in the room. The secretary began yelling at me again that I was neglecting my residents and I overheard her telling some of my coworkers the same thing.

At this point I was losing patience with the secretary and I refused to go into the room any more. She could sit there and stress over the bell calling the director, if she wanted to.

Maybe the director should know about it anyway. After all, if the bell was not working properly by the time I put my sweet old ladies to bed, then how would they be able to call for help if they had an emergency?

The nurse called maintenance and asked the secretary to stop telling the other workers that I was not taking care of my residents.

He came back and found me. He said he would try something else to fix it and not to worry if it rang while he was working on it. He said to ignore the bell for the time being and go about the rest of my work. I was happy to do this, as I was getting behind and I had a lot of people to get ready for bed.

He left the room and  I saw him near the front desk, I was busy working and figured he would find me, when the room was ready for me to return those ladies to it.

He came to me on the floor, where I was working. He asked me, “did the call bell from 221 just ring on your pager?”

I checked and it in fact had just rung on there. I had been busy taking care of a resident and I had not noticed it.

“Come with me. I want to show you something,” he said.

I liked this maintenance guy, so I agreed to go with him, so that he could show me whatever it was that he wanted me to see. He took to to room 221.

He walked me into the room to where the call bell was. He said “Look” and pointed to the wall, where the call bell assembly was usually mounted.

There was just a huge empty hole in the wall. The entire assembly had been removed.

He said to me “I could not think of anything else to do, so I decided to remove the entire system out of the wall. I took it out about 30 minutes ago.”

“How?” I stammered…

He said, “I have no idea. There is nothing there. There is nothing hooked into the electrical system. There is no call bell here now.”

And still the bell rang for the rest of the night.  The frequency  slowed down after a while and it  began ringing every hour or so.

When the night shift arrived on the next night, I asked them if that bell had continued to ring after I had gone home the night before.  They told me that every couple of hours that bell would ring, even though all that was left of it was a gaping hole in the wall.

That is my ghost story from the nursing home. It was weird and I still remember the room number all these years later.

They eventually replaced that bell assembly with a new system. It was an upgrade and different from the older one. But from time to time, during the next year I worked there, that call bell would ring when no one was in the room.

The Fire Alarm Story from the Nursing Home

A few weeks ago, I posted on here that there had been a fire alarm at the nursing home where I work. The single most terrifying words to ever hear, when working in a second floor dementia unit at a nursing home, are “This is NOT a Drill! “

So, there we were. It was about 8 pm. Luckily the hospice aides were still with us. They usually work from about 4om to 8:30 pm. had it been a half hour later, there would only have been 3 of us, to move all of the residents, including lifting heavy people out of their beds and getting them into wheelchairs.

There were 3 of us , plus 3 hospice aides there, on the unit. The hospice aides were great and stayed with us, until the danger was cleared.

The alarm system at a nursing facility, is not the same as what you have in your home. It is extra loud and there are all kinds of buzzers and lights flashing, in addition to the alarm ringing noises. The noise and the flashing lights are enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure through the roof.

In addition, there was a terrible problem with communication to the main nurse station. Since we were upstairs, on the second floor, we had no idea where the fire was, or what exit we should be taking people towards. At first we did not even know if it was a real fire.

Upon trying to contact the nurse station with our walkie talkies, we quickly found out that they could not hear us and we could not hear them well, over the sounds of the alarms. I was trying to ask them which way to take the residents. The response that I heard was “take everyone to a common area”

This idea of a common area was confusing, based on the way the dementia unit is set up. This is a lock down unit, with a coded door. The unit is sectioned away from the rest of the facility, in order to contain the people with Alzheimer’s disease, for their own protection.

If they were not locked into the unit, they could end up wandering outside in front of a car, going into the kitchen and getting burned and any number of possible dangers.  Also most of the are “Fall Risks,” which means that they cannot walk without falling. but they also do not remember not to get up and walk.

Many of them think they are 30 or even 19 and they do not remember that they are in a wheelchair, and cannot walk by themselves without falling. This was a frightening issue during the fire incident, because we were afraid to lose track of anyone or leave anyone in a place where they might get up and fall.

In addition, these alarms are blaring and the lights are flashing and everyone is feeling that “fight or flight” mode in their body. We wanted to move them to the proper place, but where was the proper place?

What is the “common area” ? I was speaking into the walkie talkie and they could not hear me asking “DO you want us to keep them in the lounge area ?” “Do you want us to bring them out of the lock down area, into the hallway” …”DO you want us to bring them downstairs?”

No one could hear my questions. We had no idea where they wanted us to bring them all. SO, we guessed.

We started to bring all the residents in their wheelchairs, into the hallway, outside of the lounge , but still in the dementia lock down area. Some residents had to be gotten out of bed.

We had trouble even communicating with each other, over the extreme noise of the alarm system. And the longer the alarms kept going, the longer our brains and bodies stayed on “high alert” with blood pressure elevated and the whole body in that frightening “life and death” emergency mode.

The supervisor working with me that night had us take the residents down the hall. towards the back stairs.

Each bedroom was checked. As we were going along, we closed the door to each room that was cleared, and placed a pillow on the floor, outside the bedroom door. The pillow is an alert that the particular room has been checked and cleared.

The pillow system is  great, because there is no time to be checking rooms that another worker already cleared. As it was, we were having trouble communicating because of the extreme noise.

Let me tell you something about the stairs….We would never get everyone out ! There simply would not be time.

It is terrifying that In the midst of this situation, there dawns this realization on you that….We Would Never Get Everyone Out.

How would we get people down the stairs? The ones that can walk, do not walk well. It would be a very slow process, walking one old person down the stairs, and keeping them from falling,

Then what?

The wheelchairs don’t go down stairs. The residents cannot walk. We are supposed to take one at a time, lay them on a sheet, and with one person holding each end of the sheet…..drag them down the stairs with the sheet.

How difficult would this be? How long would it take? Do you think that argumentative residents that will throw their grilled cheese sandwich at you during lunch…are just going to allow you to lay them on a sheet….and just cooperate ….

…while we drag them down a hard set of stairs, inevitably banging them and hurting them a little bit, on the way down?

Do you think we could even get them to cooperate enough to lie down on a sheet? It would not happen…

Not only that…Even if we got one resident outside, what would happen to them, as we went back up to get the next one? These are the people that we have in the lock down unit, for the very reason that they are not safe to be left alone.

So, there we were. I was beginning to wonder about my own safety. Where was the fire? Was it on our floor? Was it right beneath us?  Was is blocking our exit?

After a few minutes, before we had tried to get anyone do go down the stairs, the nurse came up from downstairs and said “NO ! You have taken them to wrong place. The fire is right underneath all of you ! “

So, then we had to start all over again, and move the 25 wheelchairs down the other end of the hallway. This time they wanted us to take them out the lock down door and into the 2nd floor hallway. This we did.

By some miracle, none of the residents fell or fought us too much, or tried  to get up out of their wheelchairs.

So, the alarm is beginning to make my head hurt. It is disorienting my brain. My ears, and everyone else’s are about to bleed from listening to this alarm, for 10 or 15 minutes by now.

Then the fire department came and they cleared the danger. We were told that everything was okay now and we could return the residents to their rooms.

But…….

The alarm was still going….and going….and going…

By now, the residents were becoming very agitated, The ones that have hearing problems were the best off, but the others were becoming over stimulated by listening to this alarm, the buzzers and the flashing lights…which …would….not…..STOP !

I called down on the walkie talkie, but they could not hear what I was saying over the alarm.

“Turn off the alarm ! Pleeeeaaaase turn off the alarm. My ears are bleeding! “

“What? We can;t hear you. The alarm is still going off on your floor.?”

“Really ????”

“yes, we cannot hear you.”

“Turn off the alarm! The residents are getting combative, Sarah tried to kick me and 2 others are climbing out of their wheelchairs and they are going to fall.”

“What? We can’t hear you.Your alarm is really loud.”

“Really ? I did not notice. “

Anyway, I  gave up on the walkie talkie and I called the office from the phone in the kitchen, The alarm was going in there too, but somehow they could hear me a little bit. 

They told me….and you won’t believe it ……

“The alarm is off on the first floor, where we are The alarm seems to be still going off, where you are, The fire dept has already left. We have to call maintenance . AT HOME, and have him come in to turn it off.”

“What?  Holy crap. We cannot tolerate this for another 20 minutes. The residents cannot even hear us, when we are telling them to sit down. They are climbing up because the alarm is frightening them. ..

“The workers cannot communicate with each other. This is a major safety problem, besides the fact that my brain is going to explode right  out of my ears, any second now !! “

“Yes, we are calling Marty now. He will have to come in from his home to turn off the alarm.”

FINALLY, 20 minutes after the 1st floor alarm was cleared, which was 20 minutes after the fire dept cleared the alarm originally. The alarm was off !

I could still hear it ringing in my ears, so I had to wait a minute to be sure it was really off, and not just a dream…

“Thank you. Yay ! Yay ! The alarm is off on second floor. “

dizzy, headache, room spinning, disoriented,,,,relieved.

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