A Day in the Life of a Neopian Hospital Nurse
Since I am a few minutes early to work, I stop by at the smoothie shop in the Bazaar for a small wheatgrass fruit smoothie- my favorite energy boost before what is sure to be a long day.
I work as a nurse at the Neopian Hospital in the Plaza. It’s a tough job, but I love every minute of it. I am a Gnorbu, you see, and we are kindness and good senses of humor, which makes taking care of ill neopets and making them feel better the perfect job for us! I am the oldest sister of four siblings, so I also have a lifetime of experience of fixing minor bumps and bruises.
The Hospital is always open, but today my shift starts at 8 o’clock AM. I am lucky not to have had the late night shift for a few days, but my friend Sally walks out just as I am throwing away my smoothie cup.
“How was last night?” I ask her.
“Eh, I’ve had worse. But now I have to go get some sleep! Have a nice day!” she replies. Sally was actually the first nurse I met when I started working here, and she has been very supportive ever since. I guess it is in her nature, though, as she is a Gelert!
I check the schedule to see who else is working my shift. I am happy to see that Jack, who I also met on my first day, is working with me. He may seem like your usual rough and tough Grarrl at first, but I know that he is actually a big softie inside. Unfortunately, Patricia is also working my shift. It isn’t that we don’t get along, it’s just that I don’t really like her approach to interacting with patients.
I love taking care of needy neopets, while Patricia tries to avoid patients at all costs. I don’t quite understand why she became a nurse if she doesn’t like the most important part of the job, but she does discuss the medical aspect with much enthusiasm.
“Heya there, Pam,” Jack greets me cheerfully. Oh, yeah, I guess I forgot to mention my name is Pam. Well, now you know!
“What’s new, Jack?” I respond in a friendly tone.
“Looking forward to another great day! I have to go check in on the Jetsam in Room 108, he has a case of Cricky Neck that I gave him a Neck Brace for yesterday. I hope his neck isn’t as stiff now!” he says in his usual cheerful manner. Despite the fact that I have known him for years now, it still surprises me how such a big, menacing exterior can hold such a delightfully kind neopet on the inside.
I see on the board that I am assigned to a new patient in Room 203, so I climb the stairs up to the second floor and enter the room.
There is a young Poogle on the bed with particularly swollen ears. I suspect Neggitus, but I have to let the doctor make the diagnosis. That is the one frustrating part of my job, that by now I have amassed quite a bit of medical knowledge but I am not able to make a formal decision about what is wrong with a patient. So I wait for Dr. Hygan to enter.
Dr. Hygan is a particularly old Gnorbu who, to be honest, probably should have retired a few years ago. He is very wise, but I am afraid his mind isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be.
“Well, hello there, Ms. Balia,” he says, squinting down at the chart.
“Actually, it’s Malia,” says the Poogle meekly. I can tell that this is probably her first time here, so I smile warmly at her to comfort her.
“Ah, yes, my mistake. So you are here because of ‘swollen ears and dizziness,’ correct?” asks Dr. Hygan.
“Yes, sir, that is correct,” she replies.
“Hmm, I see. Yes, I suspect you have Kikoghela,” he says firmly.
I roll my eyes. This Poogle is not having coughing fits, and she is not complaining of a sore throat!
I nudge him and whisper, “I was actually thinking Neggitus, because of the swollen ears, Doctor.”
“Heh? Sorry, Dear, you have to speak up. My ears aren’t as sharp as they once were!”
I turn to the patient and ask, “Have you by any chance been eating a large number of neggs in the past few weeks?” Malia nods in response.
“Doctor, wouldn’t that be an indication that the patient has Neggitus?” I ask in a normal, but not unkind tone.
“Oh! Yes, of course! My apologies, Ms. Matika,” he says to the patient, “I will go get a Neggitus Injection right away.”
“Erm, it’s actually Malia, but do I have to get a shot? I’m really scared of needles,” she says, with a very scared look on her face.
“Aren’t we all! Don’t worry, I’ll be here to comfort you, if you’d like,” I offer. She smiles weakly in response, so I wait while Dr. Hygan gets the injection.
“Now, you will feel a slight prick, but nothing too bad,” says Dr. Hygan. He then cleans off the area where he is about to put in the shot. While he is doing this, I tell Malia to look at me and think about her favorite vacation spot while Dr. Hygan carries out the shot. When it is over, Malia loosens up and thanks me.
“You’re quite welcome, my Dear,” says Dr. Hygan without realizing the gratitude was directed at me, “you will feel a little soreness in your arm for the next few hours, but other than that you are free to go!”
The next few hours are taken up by replacing bandages and getting ice for new bumps and bruises. There must be something going on at the Battledome today, because we are getting a lot of sword wounds and unconscious patients. I secretly feel proud of my fellow Neopians when the Pant Devil comes in for the third time with Battledome-related injuries.
Finally I get a break for Lunch, and I ask Jack if he would like to join me.
“Sorry there, Pam, but I promised I would go into town with my NeoPhobia patient to help him get over his fears of leaving the Hospital. I want to see if the Step Out Shoes I’ll be giving him will cure him.”
“Well, could I come with you?” I ask. I love meeting new people, and I was planning on leaving the Hospital for lunch anyways.
Never one to refuse a lonely person, Jack grins and replies, “Sure! The more the merrier!”
We enter the patient’s room and I see a Zafara sitting up in his bed reading a book. He looks at me curiously when I enter with Jack.
“Lunchtime, Kurt! This here is Pam, and she’ll be joining us in town today,” explains Jack.
“Okay,” Kurt says reluctantly. As Kurt is getting ready, Jack whispers to me and explains that Kurt is not very good with new people, but that he warms up quickly.
As we are leaving the Hospital, Kurt hesitates for a moment at the doorway. But then, he puffs out his chest and takes a bold step into the great outdoors. I smile to myself and marvel the capabilities of medicine, or in this case, magical shoes.
However, the Step Out Shoes only give Kurt enough confidence to go as far as Pizzaroo just a few stores away. I grumble internally for a moment because I just ate there yesterday, then shake my head. It’s what’s best for the patient, I tell myself.
“So, Kurt, tell me a little about yourself,” I ask sweetly. He shuffles his feet for a minute and looks at me intently. It takes a little while for NeoPhobia patients to become comfortable talking to other neopets in a new environment, so I wait patiently for a response.
“Well, you already know that I have NeoPhobia,” he states, “but I guess you don’t know that I write a lot of poetry.” That makes sense, I think, if he won’t leave his house I guess he has to make a living doing something he can do from home.
“Really?” I ask. “I’m not much of a big poetry reader myself because I never find the time, but I will definitely keep an eye out for your work!” I try to be enthusiastic and interested to help ease the process of “stepping out.”
We order our pizza (Yummy Muddy Pizza for Kurt, Yam-Lime Pizza for me, and Cheesy Caper Surprise Pizza for Jack) and sit down. We talk a little more about Kurt’s poetry, and then chit-chat about the weather. It is another good idea to discuss things that have to do with nature in a positive manner with NeoPhobia patients, in hopes that it will encourage them to explore the outside world a little more.
When we are done, we head back to the hospital. By now, Kurt is feeling a little more comfortable overall, but it is apparent that the shoes are not having as much of an impact.
“So it looks like the shoes only work for him for an hour or two,” Jack tells me after Kurt is back reading in his bed, “but that will still help him. If he is able to go out for a few hours a day, he will get used to interacting with others outside of his own home, and eventually he will not need the shoes at all. Thanks so much for your help!”
“No problem! He is a very nice Zafara,” I say.
I then continue with my day to day tasks, and get some of the busywork out of the way, like running over to the Pharmacy to pick up some more Neopkins. There must be a bug going around, because we’ve had a significant number of D’achoo cases in the past few days.
Then, around 3 o’clock, Patricia comes up to me and asks me to help her with a patient.
I put down the needles I am sorting and ask, “What kind of problem are you having?”
“My patient has NeoBlues, and the doctor was too busy to cheer him up, so he asked me to do it. And as you probably know, I’m not the best with patient interaction,” she says. I am momentarily surprised, because it is not like her to admit her faults. I always saw her as very proud Ixi who wasn’t willing to acknowledge criticism. But, hey, she said it!
“Uh, sure,” I say. Patients are more important than needles, anyways. We enter and in the corner is the bluest Meerca I have ever seen. Not only literally blue, but also very sad looking. I feel like grey would be a more appropriate color for this neopet.
“His name is Nabo, and he just got abandoned by his owner,” she says to me. I widened my eyes at her and looked towards the patient, who is well within earshot. She shrugs, and I tell myself to remind her later that it probably isn’t the best idea to talk about the patient when they are a few feet away.
“How are you doing, Nabo?” I ask in my nurturing voice. He looks at me with sad eyes and then looks back at the floor. I put a comforting paw on his arm, but he flinches. I can tell that his abandonment has left him mistrusting and hurt.
“I am very sorry about your situation. Sometimes our owners just get too busy to take care of us,” I comfort him.
Suddenly, Nabo bursts into tears. “It’s not that,” he manages to whimper between sobs. “She had four pets, and didn’t want a Meerca anymore. She wanted a Kacheek so she could paint it chocolate. She hated the way I looked in chocolate! It’s not fair!”
“How terrible! That must be very hard for you,” I say, but I don’t know what else to tell him. I have heard of owners who stop taking care of their pets because they are too busy, but to abandon them altogether for a new, flashier pet? That sounds just terrible.
“I just don’t know what to do now. All my life was just supporting my owner and always being there for them to play with. We had some amazing times, playing our favourite game, Dubloon Disaster, eating all the different types of jelly and deciding that peanut butter was the best, collecting furniture for our Neohome, and participating in plots. I just couldn’t believe it when she gave me up to the pound,” he finishes with a fresh wave of tears.
I listen to Nabo talk and am reminded of my own owner. I was his first pet, which was part of what gave me my nurturing qualities. We also had a lot of fun together. Our favorite event in Neopia was always been Altador Cup. But after a while, my owner stopped playing, and we haven’t seen him for a long, long time. My siblings (his other pets) and I still keep in touch, and we swear we will always be there for him if he ever returns to Neopia.
As I find myself beginning to tear up, I remind myself that I have to put on a brave face for the patient. I put on the most convincing smile I can and say to Nabo, “I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I haven’t seen my owner for a very long time, but to be abandoned... you know what you need to do? You need to land back on your feet and show her that you can survive without her. It may seem harsh, but trying to forget her altogether will make the process of getting over this tragedy a lot quicker.”
Nabo looks at me pensively. I hope that the advice I am giving doesn’t seem too insensitive. Then, before I have the chance to comfort him more, Nabo speaks.
“I really don’t like having to do that, but I agree. It is the only way to move on with my life, and the only way to get over this awful situation. Thank you for your help.”
“You’re welcome, and remember, if you ever need to talk, don’t hesitate to contact me,” I say. Right then, the doctor walks in with the best known cure for NeoBlues: a tasty pie.
Later that day, just at the end of my shift, Patricia approaches me once again.
“What you did for Nabo was amazing, and I really appreciate the help. I really have a lot of trouble with patient interaction, and I can tell that that would have been nearly impossible for me to handle as delicately as it needed to be,” she says.
“Yeah, I really feel bad for the poor guy. I remember some of the times I had with my owner, but I can’t imagine being abandoned like that,” I respond.
Then Patricia says something I never expected.
“I was abandoned, too.”
I am astonished. I realize that that was probably why she had some trouble with patient interaction, and I feel really bad for feeling how I had about her. She is just a lonely neopet, looking for something to take her mind off a horrible past.
“I didn’t understand why at the time. I was one of only two pets, and all of a sudden she up and got rid of me. Afterwards I realized that her shop was failing and she did not have very many neopoints, and she had never taken me to the soup kitchen so I assumed she didn’t know about it. I suppose I understand that she could not afford to take care of me, but I feel like she didn’t even try. I’ve gotten over it, but I never trusted others again. I immersed myself in nursing, learned everything about medicine I could, but never quite mastered patient interface.”
Hearing all this for the first time is like someone opening the door of the nice warm Scratch Card Kiosk on Terror Mountain and letting the cold air in; it is sudden, frightening, and chilling. It gives me a whole new perspective of Patricia.
“Hey, would you like to go somewhere to sit down and talk about all this?” I ask. I honestly want to know more about her past. I have never really reached out to Patricia, and I decide now is a better time than ever to do just that.
“Yes. I would love that. Can we go to Hubert’s Hot Dogs? I’ve been craving a Rainbow Hot Dog all day,” she says. I smile; Rainbow Hot Dogs are my favorite, too.
“That would be lovely,” I say. And together, we leave for the Bazaar. Since that day, Patricia and I have become a dynamic duo of sorts; I help her with face-to-face with patients and she tells doctors to trust my opinions more (she has more credibility with them because of her impeccable medical knowledge). Now, we are the best of friends.
First short story, would absolutely love feedback if possible! Thanks!