scribbles in scrubs


Mini-stories, all under 150 words, from the wards. Always true but some details may be left out to protect patient privacy.


My hand is in her mouth pressing gauze against her tongue. She’s been coughing up blood for hours since her surgical wound opened up. The man who accompanied her leaves to go to the bathroom once she’s stabilized. “Who’s he?” I ask because I’m standing so close to her she can see down my scrub top, and her blood is on my neck. She says he’s a guy she just started dating. This is their second date, actually. “I’m going to have to marry him after thus, huh?” she jokes. I smile. A hospital date doesn’t sound so bad to me.

no longer with us.

“Where’s Mr. [x]?” I ask the night team resident.

“He’s no longer with us,” he calmly replies.

My team startles as I burst out “What?! How?!”

“By the time I got here, he had full-on ST elevation. We barely got him to the cath lab on time…”

“But then what happened?”

A pause. “Oh, he got transferred to another hospital.”

We breathe a sigh of relief. He snickers, “This is what happens when you don’t trend trops before transferring to another team.”

you’re not on my team.

She walks into our rooms for rounds with a poster that’s been scribbled all over. “This is my team, and this is my sister’s team. Which team are YOU on?” she asks, her blue eyes flashing wildly at me as she takes a seat at the table, flipping the poster to demonstrate the names written on each side or “team”.

We ask her typical morning rounds questions — how much did she manage to sleep last night? Were the meds helping? Did she still think she needed to escape from her burning house? She answers with the pressured speech and disjointed thoughts characteristic of mania. We try to steer her back but she storms up, grabs her poster, and glares at us. “You’re not on my team. KA CHING, KA CHING, KA CHING!” She points a trigger finger at each of us for each “ka ching” before slamming the door.