I apologize already for my english: since it is not my language, I'll try to do my best to be understandable. My name is Barbara and I am a medical technician in the south of Chile, work that has different meaning in some countries. Let's say my work is having the lab testing done, running the place, and informing the results. I apologize for the large introduction, but it's necessary for you to understand my story - and my predicament.
It is a very isolated job. I work usually with one technician and one auxiliary, and that's it. We lock ourselves in the lab at eight AM and emerged at five PM, and sometimes very very later. In larger hospitals we work by so many as ten to eleven med tech's by lab, but in the little rural hospital I am now, it's just me at charge of everything.
My career began working in large hospitals, but I took some replacements in tiny hospitals (in my country called type 4) and I fell in love with the idea of living in the country, doing that work. So I moved with my cats in a very tiny town in the Lakes area of Chile, and I left the big hospital of Concepcion for the tiny Hospital of Fresia. All went okay for a while: but I have been here 7 months, and I am in deep worry, and maybe desperation.
The place is ideal in many ways: it's quiet, green and low budget-living. I live happily with my pets, made new friends, and enjoyed my work: but there is something that I hadn't been able to shrug off, and it's poisoning my work and general life.
When I was in Conception Hospital, I made night shifts since 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM: alone with a technician, in the Urgency Section of the lab, a great room with all the equipment and lab tables. The room faced a hallway that was parallel to us, going from the main hallway of the floor to the end of the lab, Hematology Section, dark and desert at night. Just across the hallway and facing my Urgency Section, it was the med tech lounge.
It's funny how we grow to know the sounds our equipments made: I was there for almost a year and I could recognize just by the sounds if the equipment was wrong or right. Usually, the Architect(tm) equipment (a biochemical testing automatized machine) made a Prt-prt-prt sound. I was almost lolled by it, my back to it, my left to the door as I was seated in the tall lab stool, checking the results in the computer when my technician made a sound: a half choked sound, like she's swallowed something. I started (she was seating across me) and something moved by my left.
I saw the back of a man, a man purposely strinding the hallway. It was medium height, half bald, and wore a long coat. He was looking front, and vanished in the dark of the hallway. I looked back to my technician, ready to ask who was that guy, and knew something was very bad. She was crying.
I jumped from my chair when I realized nobody has nothing to do in the deserted parts of the lab at 4:00 AM! I don't know if I was going to go chasing or what, I just felt a rush of adrenalin with a strange dizziness, and then the Architect(tm) made a loud, startling PRRIP! My blood coagulator in front went BEEP to, and the room became a pandemonium: I have never seen all equipment went crazy like that. I set off the alarms, and checked them trembling: it was like a low voltage failure, making all the darn things to reinitiate, but they're were wired to different lines! I was yelling "What was that" "Who was that" "what is happening" and my technician stood there simply, not saying a word. I finally realized I've seen a ghost and I felt like fainting, everything was gray and my heart pumped hard.
My technician, and older lady with 40 years in the same hospital sat me, gave me sugared water and told me when I was clearer that was a Doctor who used to be the old manager of the lab, who had died not twenty years ago. And that I was the ONLY ONE of the staff whom never had seen him: other colleagues had seen him regularly, passing to his office, which used to be the Hormones room, next to Hematology
I was scared as hell. I didn't want to cross the hall to GO to the lounge, so I stayed there all night working, even when there was a slow night. At morning I ran home, and waited anxiously for my next night shift. I only commented this with a colleague, who said he had seen the doctor and too a patient in the stair at night shifts, and generally patted me in the head. I was so shaken, that I barely could work at night, and clutched my poor technicians for dear life. I spied the hallway, and finally I managed to forego the issue and got back to more or less my usual self.
Almost three months later, I was working with a different technician when suddenly the Architect(tm) went prt-prt-prt- PRRIP-BAM BAM BAM PRT PRRIP! I almost fell of my chair, panicked: I hade never heard those sounds before, and assumed I've done something terrible wrong. I stopped all functions, and checked the historical for errors: it said temperature error. It was silly, since the temperature was very mild, not over 22 Celsius, and the equipment worked well to 29 grades. I reinitiated the whole thing, and the I heard a crash. I went to the hallway and checked the Hematology room, Hormones Room and Urines room, and there was nothing: when I was coming back, the light went out.
I was facing the far end of the hallway, my back to the Hormones section. The buzz of refrigerators stopped: I waited for the hospital generators to start. But I felt cold anyway, and the doctor came to my mind, and all I could do not to freak out was to stay there, eyes open, waiting for the light to came back. I didn't even found my voice to call to my technician: seemed like an eternity, then lights came back and I went to the Urgency room not looking back.
My technician was white as a sheet and panting. She told me it was nothing, and I went to restart my equipments. I was proud of myself having been calm, and calming my technician: but several weeks after, I heard she had panicked because she saw the doctor just before the lights went out. Walking down the hall. To the labs I was in!
I was so badly shaken hearing that that I changed my shift that night and it became one, if not the main, reasons I went searching for a new job. I thought later it was stress and enclosement taking its toll in me: locked in the same place for 8 hour shifts, sometimes as many as eight or nine by week, it was only natural I wasn't my usual self. So, I was happy coming to this place, running this little laboratory.
That was until two months ago. I run a tiny Microbiological section, which is no bigger than a closet, really, and sometimes I prefer (preferred) to come back Saturdays or Sundays (my new work is Monday to Friday, 8-5 hours) to transfer a bacteria to accelerate the exam. It is no bother, and it takes only 15 minutes, and can save a day of pain for a patient!
I came back five Saturdays ago to do the transfer. I had just given Internet in my lab, so I was searching the web for some lyrics and pages and I lost track of the hour: when I came out, it was beginning to get dark. The lab has beautiful deep windows that got all the sun all day, but the big Hospital hall, just beyond my door, is very dark and large and tall, each extreme lighted for big stained glass windows converted in offices with more sets of glass windows. There is wooden seating places against some walls, and in the middle the main entrance, closed since 5, and the up-lifted walk to the wards where the patients sleep. Usually is a little red light there from X-ray section, which is left on at night.
I opened the door, turned to close and to let some bags I was carrying at the floor, and I noticed someone in the hall. My first thought was it was somebody cleaning, and after I put on the lock, I turned to say Hi.
There wasn't nobody. I walked there, thinking it may have opened any office and was cleaning into, but there was nobody. I turned round, and peek into some offices, but there was nobody. Then I looked into the Files office room, a room that like Lab, got all the light, and heard a distant pounding. It was the same sound I listen everyday when patients come to my attention window, that character pounding with the nails in glass, but was very faint and I took me a moment to identify it. But I knew I was alone in the Poli Hall.
I sprinted to the wards and spoke to the paramedics there: they confirmed there was nobody down there in the hall. I said nothing more, but boy was I shaked, and went home. I just told to the dentist and the kinesiologist, whom I am friends with, and they laughed at me.
I don't know what to do. Surely can't be EVERY hospital haunted? How can my coworkers joke about it? I feel like I'm going to have a breakdown next thing it happens, and I can't let my fear show in front of patients and coworkers, some of them should come to ME for help.
I wrote to you because not only you seem comfortable with the subject and will not call me crazy, I hope, but could maybe, gave me some advice, just letting this all out it has been a great relief for me. Thank you.