Elongated Shadows

Carved wood totem

Suddenly, the exam room was plunged into darkness.

Thinking that the energy saving motion sensor had somehow felt the room was empty, I was placing the sutures with my back to the door and the patient was lying very still since I was stitching up his face, I raised my hand and waved.


“Well, that’s a first…”

The patient made a nervous laugh. 

I stood and using the glow of the light visible from the battery powered laptop that was perched on the countertop, I made my way to the door. Sticking my head out, it was clear the entire clinic was without power. Other patients and staff stood in the hallway, waiting expectantly. 

But the power never came back on.

For the next hour we saw the remaining patients by the light of our cell phones, doing the best we could. I was not able to look inside ears or do EKGs. I could not order any tests or X-rays. Our clinic phones did not work. We had to *gasp* handwrite our prescriptions. The centrifuge could not spin our blood vials before transport to the lab.

In fact, almost the entire city was without power thanks to an accidental severed line somewhere… according to reports from the power company.

Tens of thousands of dollars worth of vaccines in our fridge/freezer could potentially go bad as the ETA on the power coming back on was maybe 12 hours away. Some of the staff graciously packed up the vials boxes and drove them to another clinic with power for safe keeping.

The movie theater cleared out next door. None of the traffic lights worked and the backed up intersections were utter mayhem. My kids’ school was pitch black and they had runners bringing to the front kids for pick up since the intercom system did not work.

You know what, though? It was fun! A dry run for the zombie apocalypse… We’ve got this! 

It was a glorious feeling.

And then? 

I spent the entire evening when I got home trying to catch up on the charting and patient calls that I could not get to from the office. Why is it that ONE hour without power turns into THREE frickin’ hours of work? How is that even possible?



57 thoughts on “Elongated Shadows

  1. Hehe, the whole time I was reading this I was thinking, “Oh wow, she must have had so much charting to do that night!” I hated when our EMR went down. We did everything by paper which sped things up and was kind of fun…until we had to RE-input all the info into the EMR that night. Good times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always the way . We’ve had power go off before and scripts couldn’t be processed . Robot can’t function thus won’t spit out any boxes or bottles . Back in the Olsen days of that happened we’d jump on the typewriters to type up labels. Now a day if it happens we are stuck so it’s hand written labels or tell the patients to come back . And since the PBS is online it meant we can’t check their entitlements .Prices are automatically set in the computer so we can’t charge anyone the right price either . Just easier to turn the customers away .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man! When our power goes off – and it does – not a lot but enough to be annoying and concerning – we dream about it ONLY being off for a single hour. We talk three, four, hours and for some places we talk about two, three or four DAYS. This is the modern State of South Australia the State of the Commonwealth of Australia which has the highest electricity costs in the Commonwealth and the most unreliable power source. See, we are good for some things – even if it is just to serve as a bad example for the rest of the Commonwealth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. They projected twelve hours but it was back on in two and half hours. Pretty miraculous how fast they can be. Typically it is only a matter of minutes so this long felt like a serious hardship. I was secretly hoping for a few days…. πŸ˜‰


  4. Surprised no generator…what a pain. We have only once resorted to emergency paper since I have been with the agency. Really slowed the day down but we had great documentation…. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting – one hour without power equals three hours manual labour not to mention the time you have to take to reenter them later. Wow you don’t want to be without it for long.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel that! I do the same job now that I did 20 years ago, only now I do as much in a half day as I did in a full day, because electronics!
    I hope you got to enjoy yourself when you finished up all that paperwork!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It reminds me of our wedding day. We had an 11 am ceremony scheduled. Just as we were about to start, the power went out. We sat in the dark cold for 45 mins. At first I cried. Then we had fun. We had decided to get tons of tealights and have a candle light wedding. I had lit pumpkins on our tables as well. (It was Oct.) Just as we were about to start that, the lights went on. Then I was a bit bummed about that lol. The power in the entire town had gone out because someone hit a hydro pole. Good thing it was a cold lunch and not a hot dinner we planned.
    All in all it was still the best day of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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