Working in and around the medical field since I was fifteen (I lied about my age to have a job and help my mom) I guess you could say I have worked in just about any type of an office or hospital you can imagine. I have been in large hospitals, small private clinics and laboratories. Each of these areas had their share of encounters or experiences held within their walls (in some cases on the grounds) for me to deal with.
I had three small children and my husband had been laid off from work for three weeks. I was still recovering from a major surgery, but we needed to put food on the table. I picked up the want ads and noticed an area laboratory was hiring for medical billing. Although I had not worked in this particular part of the industry, I was willing to do what was necessary to fulfill the job requirements.
I worked at the laboratory for three years, learning the business side of medicine through my job and attending classes.
The laboratory also doubles as the coroner's office on a rotation basis. This did not bother me, at first. I was actually fascinated that one of the providers I worked with did autopsies and worked with the police.
After being in the position about three months, I was given the option of coming to work at 5:00 AM and leaving at 2:00 PM so I could get to classes and spend time with my family. I was ecstatic! How perfect could this be! The only draw back was... I would be in the building alone from 5:00 AM to 7:30 AM. Oh, well. More quiet time to get things done.
I had been working the shift for about two weeks when I came in through the secure entrance one morning to a wondrous party atmosphere!
People where milling about everywhere, talking and laughing. No one seemed to notice I had opened the door. No one greeted me, nothing. I walked through and around several groups of chatting people to my office and called security. I was a bit miffed. If they had scheduled some type of early meeting, they should have let me know! I wouldn't have had to go through all the security rituals and procedures.
After speaking with security, I reclined back in my chair, barely breathing. Just beyond my office door, the meeting appeared to be in full swing. No one was extremely noisy but there were definitely voices and chatting. At least forty to fifty people in the outer office and lobby area continued with their mingling and visiting.
I think at that point I was not breathing. I had goose bumps and my whole body tingled. You see, when I called the security guard, he patched us through a three way call to the security company as there was not to be anyone in the building that morning.
As I spoke on the phone with security, the security company checked all the logs and cameras, including recorded video from earlier that morning and late the previous night. No one entered the building (or left it for that matter) since 8:00 PM the previous night. When the last technician left at 8:00 PM he activated all security locks and cameras, including the gate.
As I listened to the two security men talk, the gentlemen at the company asked me if anyone was near me. I advised him no, they were all in the outer office area and lobby. After a couple of moments hesitation, the gentlemen informed me he was looking at the live camera feed from these areas and there was NO ONE THERE!
Both gentlemen assured me the police had been dispatched and I should lock myself in my office. I was adamant when speaking to them that there where at least forty to fifty people there and I was certain they knew I was in my office. I just walked through the group to get to my office!
At this point, they both became silent again. The security guard I worked with on a daily basis asked me if I went partying the night before or if I had taken anything illegal. They thought I was nuts! I told them in a very shaky voice that I had not been partying nor did I do drugs, but I was very frightened being in the building with all of these people and malfunctioning equipment! I begged them to hurry and get to the lab.
After hanging up and finally catching my breath, I turned slightly in my chair so I could see into the lobby. There were people of every age group, every ethnic group and every style of dress. Then I saw a woman in her night gown go past the door and a man in his boxer shorts.
Okay, I was officially frightened. This is not exactly the type of group you would expect at a medical facility meeting. They looked like they were at home readying for bed or a bath!
I got up as quietly and quickly as I could, walked to my office door and closed and locked it. I kept my ear to the door, although it was impossible to hear anything through the doors. All of the doors in the building were fire doors.
About 8 minutes later the security guard and three uniformed police officers unlocked an opened my office door. All of them looked at me like I was from the moon.
After about a forty five minute interview with the officers, they informed me that there was no one on any of the cameras, in any of the videos. The gate security had been used only once, and that was by me. The only motion that was caught on tape that night, except for me, was the autopsy cooler rooms' door closing with a slam. They assured me this happened because of a faulty hinge (yeah, okay).
I learned later that not only individuals with a pulse actually inhabited this business and worked there, but many others did as well.