Saturday, January 7, 2012


Why would anyone write the hospital room number in magic marker around the side of toilet paper? I mean, really, now, get serious.

I understand hospital personnel using permanent magic markers to scrawl their department name on wheelchairs and pulse oximeters and everything in between with the futile belief this time-honored ritual will guarantee that particular piece of equipment stays right within reach, if needed. Nope, it doesn’t happen that way. Wheelchairs marked PACU end up on pediatrics, blood pressure cuffs labeled ICU are tucked away in a drawer on Telemetry.

Once, on duty as charge nurse in an ER, I asked a nurses’ aide to look for wheelchairs in the admissions waiting room because the ER had none. And, believe me, an ER without wheelchairs is like an ambulance without tires. She was gone for quite a while, and returned with a cafeteria tray loaded with enough breakfast for a lumberjack and the Sunday paper tucked under her arm.

“Did you check out front for wheelchairs?” I asked her.

“Sure enough, I did. And there are wheelchairs out there.”

“Why didn’t you bring some to the ER?” I asked her.

“You only asked me to check. You didn’t ask me to bring.” There is logic, and then there is logic. But I digress.

Back to the toilet paper.

As a recent inpatient, I noticed my room number written in magic marker around the outside edge of the toilet paper in my bathroom. (Have things gotten that bad in health care that marauding staff wander from department to department confiscating toilet paper?) Any section of paper taken from the roll had a random series of black dots along the edge. Would the user end up with black dots on their bottom?

Back to the original question: why would anyone write a hospital room number in black magic marker on the outside edge of a roll of toilet paper?

Just asking.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever seen that in my hospital visits! Very funny post!