DAVENPORT, IA – A recent press release from the local VA hospital announced that a single celled organism had disguised itself as an ICU nurse for the past 30 years. Employees were reportedly shocked that the amorphous prokaryote, who adopted the name “Kathy” in order to fit in with nursing culture in the early 80s, was able to work in the ICU at the VA for nearly 30 years without detection.
“We ate lunch together every day for 10 years!” exclaimed fellow ICU nurse Phyllis. “She never said much, but I just thought she was an introvert. She always brought the most delicious salads from home.” The investigation revealed Kathy would regularly phagocytose raw vegetable matter through her mouth-like opening in plain view of colleagues, who remained oblivious to her true identity.
The simple protozoan, whose macronucleus contains a single, circular chromosome, was able to avoid suspicion for years despite the absence of any functional limbs or opposable thumbs. “Now that I think about it, I don’t remember her ever taking vital signs or administering any medications,” reports Steve Phillips, a VA hospitalist who has worked closely with Kathy since 2005. “Turns out it was probably because her flagellum was only useful for basic locomotion and not for placing IVs.”
During her time at the VA, Kathy took full advantage of the excellent benefits package given to full time employees. In addition to securing a pension, the unicellular organism reproduced asexually over 80 times, resulting in over 3 years of paid maternity leave.
Not everybody at the VA was upset by the startling news that a primitive protocell had successfully passed as an ICU nurse for decades. “She was the best thing that ever happened to this hospital!” proclaimed Debbie, the nurse manager at the VA. “She was no-nonsense! She wouldn’t take no for an answer! Actually, she wouldn’t acknowledge you at all. That’s exactly what I liked about her!”
VA Hospital administrators were unable to be reached for comment, in part because their cilia prevented them from picking up the phone.