Reader Submission: The Shuffler

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I have been a personal support worker for 14 years and have witnessed several strange occurrences, including a few that really stick out. This happened during a graveyard shift a few years after I started.

The night started like any other. There were no call bells in that facility as we visually checked everyone every hour. During our first round, as I walked to the end of the hall, I saw a white flash out of the corner of my eye in the doorway of room 312. I quickly turned to look, but nothing was there. I continued on with my task thinking my mind was playing tricks on me.

It happened again during the next round, but this time the flash of white was in the doorway of room 313. I ignored the flash, thinking I was still seeing things. On our third round, we checked on the women in room 312, and one of the ladies had a very frightened look on her face. Her eyes were fixed on the corner of the ceiling above her bed, and she looked terrified. This patient had advanced dementia and was non-verbal. She was a very pleasant lady who often shuffled around the halls, confused about who or where she was.

The charge nurse sat with the woman, giving her as much comfort as possible. The patient passed away suddenly a few minutes later. We completed her final care and continued with our night. A few hours later, as I folded laundry across from the nurse station, I started to hear shuffling sound coming down the hall. Confused, I asked the nurse if she was shuffling her feet under the desk. She said, “No, but I hear it too.” The shuffling continued slowly down the hall toward the dining room. To this day, I wonder if it was the frightened patient, taking one last walk down the hall.

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