#COVID-19 · Nursing

The Grim Reaper & A Nurse

Contrary to my normal procrastination I bought tickets to a haunted attraction way back in the beginning of September. I was determined to get there. Last year I bought tickets and it got rained out. A few years before COVID we went on a night to something you couldn’t pre-buy tickets to, and the night we went it was closed. Then COVID.

Needless to say I was frantically stalking the weather all week, and very excited the night came with no rain in sight and no global illness causing mass lockdowns…we were good to go!

When we got there we had to wait for our turn to go through as they send people through in small groups. We were a group of four, my three friends and I, and while we are all in our mid-late 30’s, and tough as nails psych nurses and a therapist, of course none of us wanted to go first or last. Finally the therapist went first and the three nurses followed. I doth my hat to our therapist friend of course.

We screamed and held onto each others vests and coats in a train of four excited and terrified friends.

We came upon our first ghouls who spoke to us and instructed one of us to reach a hand into a bucket of water and pull out two syringes. One of us may have freaked out about touching syringes to the point that the grim reaper asked “Are you nurses?” in a growl, and we nodded “Yes, three nurses and a therapist,” and the grim reaper in his grim reaper voice bowed his head a bit and said, “Thank you for your service,” and the scary baby-doll with face paint reminiscent of Frankenstein agreed in her creepy baby doll voice, “Yes, thank you.”

And there we were. In a haunted house with a grim reaper and a creepy baby-doll tipping their heads to us in thanks.

They still made my friend grab the syringes.

And on went the show.

It was followed by another grim reaper who did not speak motioning me to push a button on a wall. Well I was pushing the damn button and nothing was happening. He made a down motion with his scythe(?) and I pushed down and it fell off the wall. He’s growling at me and I can almost hear him sighing at my stupidity and my three friends are a mixture of laughter and screaming each time he waves the scythe at me telling me to just push the button. And they are yelling at me “Just push the button” and I’m like duh I would if I could, but it’s dark and there’s grim reaper growling at me, I grab it and stick it back on the wall.

If you’ve not had a grim reaper shake his head at you in complete frustration and disbelief at how stupid you can be….it’s an experience.

As I stick it on the wall the thing lights up. Finally. I pushed the button somewhere. He lets us past and follows us, the whole time pointing his scythe at me. He did not need words. Even through a full coverage mask his message was clear. You are too stupid to live and I will end you.

My friends thought it was hysterical and then of course later we did get lost and the same grim reaper popped out and had to growl and herd us back on track.

It didn’t hit me until we got out though and we were back in the car. That moment with the first grim reaper and the ghoulish baby doll. It was surreal and kind and even though it broke the scary haunted house thrill for a moment to be brought so forcefully back to reality, it felt more authentic and more real than any of the hundreds of pizza parties the hospital I worked for thought were ‘good enough’ of a thanks.

What healthcare providers- not just nurses- psychotherapists, doctors, techs, etc. have been through from 2020 to present, is inexplicable to people outside of healthcare. It’s been constant chaos and tragedy and feeling invalidated and not good enough and underlying it a deep and true terror. Terror that we would catch an illness and spread it to our loved ones. Terror that our patients would die. Terror that going to work would lead to our deaths. And on top of that dealing with the irritability and anger that has permeated seemingly every human interaction. People are angry and they are taking it out on healthcare providers and practices.

So for a random grim reaper and haunted baby doll to acknowledge us in the throes of a terror inspiring activity- it felt so wrong and yet so right.

To the ghouls at Evidence of Evil- we had a great time, and you made three nurses and a therapist feel seen and appreciated. Thank-you.

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