HOLTON, KS – An area woman, recently treated in a rural Kansas emergency room on Halloween was surprised to learn that her zombie doctor was not in costume. Gomerblog spoke with Jackson County resident Sarah McTwerd, who found herself in the ER after a steak knife slipped while carving a jack-o-lantern.
“I just needed a few stitches, and in comes Dr. Gradepantelones, to sew me up. The hospital nursing station staff had dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz —looked quite cute, actually—and so I was kind of expecting maybe the doctor to show up dressed as Oz the Great and Powerful or Dr. Oz or something. So I was kind of caught off guard, initially, when he came in dressed in the most realistic zombie doctor costume I’d ever seen. He was so convincing. He had dead, sunken eyes and pale skin. A white coat that was anything but white. His stethoscope had gunk on it, and his glasses were all smudged. I think what I found the most clever was the understated nature of the costume. No massive gashes or cheesy glue-on bloody scars. Just some blood splattered on his shoes, and some green gunk on his scrubs.
I thought that his wife must be really good at make-up, because of how subtle but at the same time ghoulish his skin tone was. It almost looked real! But he really took it to the next level when he started talking the part. He was mumbling and sort of incoherently grunting something about sleep, 4-0 nylon, and what was the score of the Royals game. He definitely sounded undead. I expected the mumbling/groaning to be all about brains, but instead, it sounded vaguely like requests for the nurse (who was dressed up as Dorothy) to get a rrrhhSalineRinsemmgh and something called ughhmBetadineSwabsmrrgh.
“As he began to sew me up – quite skillfully I might add, for a zombie so into character – I tried to get him to break the zombie routine, and asked him some questions, like was he missing trick-or-treating with his kids or did they get a bunch of trick-or-treating kids at the hospital, etc. He refused to break character, though, and I couldn’t make much out except for something like rrghhhlongweekendghhhrhgh. That’s when I complimented him on his convincing, understated, unsettling, and somewhat terrifying costume. He gave me the undead version of a quizzical look and just kept sewing me up. I was totally taken aback when the Dorothy Nurse spoke up and said he wasn’t in costume.”
Gomerblog contacted Nurse Janae (Dorothy) for comment: “Yeah, this lady who cut her hand using a steak knife to carve a pumpkin kept talking to Dr. Grandepantelones about his awesome costume. Out here, our doctors don’t have a lot of help, and they take these crazy 62-hour weekend shifts on-call. Some weekends they barely sleep. That’s already a recipe for the living dead I guess, but when you take the sleep deprivation and add in their God-awful nutrition and the emotional roller coaster that our ER patients, the electronic health record, and ICD-10 puts them through, you’ve got yourself a real life zombie—it simply took Halloween for us to actually notice.”
When Gomerblog asked about the props, Nurse Janae was able to shine some light there also: “Yeah, I think the blood was from a farming accident a couple hours earlier, the green stuff was meconium from a precipitous delivery, and the ‘white’ coat – well, it was a long weekend. As for the skin tone, you have to realize these rural doctors do everything here, and literally never see the light of day. I think one of them has actually developed a fear of the sun. And their nutrition leaves everything to be desired. Nothing but Baked Lays, Diet Mountain Dew, and Pudding cups for days on end. And I’ve never seen them eat sitting down. I’m actually surprised their skin stays attached to their body.”
Janae continued: “I think next year we’ll all dress up as zombies so they’ll blend in more.”