PARMA, OH – It all started when an episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead played on the TV in the ICU family lounge. Within minutes, patient family members with power of attorney rights signed hospice and DNR declarations for a majority of the comatose and decaying patients in the ICU.
“I broke the news to the medical residents and they asked if hospice patients could stay on ECMO and similar heart/lung machines,” said critical care anesthesiologist Dr. Troche. “I know they’ve been taught that keeping patients undead is a priority, but I didn’t expect the transition to be this difficult. Even the surgical residents know that we don’t take crashing patients from the OR to the ICU to facilitate a more efficient discharge home.”
As anti-zombie fervor grew in Parma, physicians curtailed resuscitation efforts for patients already in rigor mortis, and even orthopedic and vascular surgeons began canceling futile procedures on patients older than 105. No one took the news harder than pharmaceutical reps.
“I won’t be able to sell drugs anyway until I fix my mascara,” blubbered one blonde salesperson from a drug company as the tears coursing down her face picked up various hues from her eyeliner, rouge, and foundation.
“This hospital just isn’t buying Lifoxyl infusions anymore – our patent ICU blend of milrinone, Levophed, whey protein, and preservatives. It’s what they put in fast food and Twinkies to give them such a long shelf life. At least Mr. Long’s family isn’t swayed by this ridiculous fad.”
The call light suddenly rang overhead from Mr. Long’s room. No one knew exactly when Mr. Long had been admitted to the ICU, but most experts agree it was before Y2K.
Mr. Long cleared his throat (something which not every patient with a tracheostomy can do) and reached for the picture board used to communicate with staff. He gently repositioned his PEG tube and various IV and dialysis catheters so he could point to the correct illustrations.
With a mischievous smile, Mr. Long pointed to the pictures for “IV” and “Stop.” Once his family agreed and his nurse stopped the Lifoxyl infusion – over the wails of the pharmaceutical rep – Mr. Long flipped the picture board over to the abstract side. This is the side with complex pictures articulating statements such as “I’m signing out AMA and stealing several pillows” and the rarely used “I’m going to audition for next year’s season of The Walking Dead.” We at GomerBlog wish Mr. Long a successful career.