Making The Rounds

Nurse Aurel Ortega made the rounds of the ward. This was always her least favourite part of the day, and she tried to get it over with as soon as possible.

"Patient #1: Gay Sanborn," she wrote. Mrs. Sanborn was in her 70s, and had once again managed to kick her bedpan onto the floor. No doubt her clothes were once more soaked in her own urine. "Patient's micturation seems to be of her standard reliability," she wrote on her pad.

"Patient #2: Zandra Abetti," she wrote. Ms. Abetti seemed to be a hysteric, and, as usual, erupted into paroxysms of laughter when Aurel stopped before her bed. "Patient's awareness of surroundings is undulled as usual," she wrote.

"Patient #3: Burleigh Erdman," she wrote. According to her sheet, Mr. Erdman was recovering from neurosurgery to his crural nerve fascicle. That would explain the repeated twitching in his leg, twisting his face into a continuous grimace of pain. "Patient's recovery from surgery seems to be on track," she wrote.

The rest of the patients were their usual comatose selves. She had long since discovered seventeen different ways of writing "Patient's status remains unchanged", and used them at random to alleviate her boredom.

Finally the onerous task was completed, and Aurel sat and consulted her almanac to see if her calculations had been correct. Yes, they had. It was indeed syzygy tonight, at 7:43 CST. She would be off work by then. That left her all day to decided which one of her patients would be honored enough to join her at the ceremony. Zandra was certainly the most active, but that wasn't necessarily a plus. No, Mrs. Sanborn would be better. No living relatives, and a staff that was heartily sick of sponging her off every morning. It would be a positive blessing.

<John Perry gave me the unprecedented 5-word assignment

micturate
paroxysm
syzygy
fascicle
crural
>

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com