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Panic in the elevator!



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I am an oncology RN at UCLA, working 12-hour shifts on days. One early morning while riding the elevator up to work with another nurse, I was terrified when she started pointing and screaming at me. I started screaming as well when she couldn’t articulate what she was screaming about.

“WHAT!!!” I kept screaming back—but she couldn’t speak.

Finally, she bopped me on the head, then stopped her ranting and stared at the floor.

I didn’t know if there was an intruder hiding behind me…or something left over from a patient that somehow made its way on top of my head…I hadn’t a clue.


It turned out to be a spider that had hitchhiked to work with me on top of my head.

I have “big” hair, and since I live in a canyon in Los Angeles, I am always rescuing spiders from inside our house and placing them outside. This particular spider must have slipped out of the Tupperware container that I had “rescued” it in and somehow made it on top of my head.

When I finally saw what my coworker was screaming about, I started screaming even more when I realized that a spider had ridden to work with me.

When we showed up to our morning “huddle,” or report, we were both a bit shaken, to say the least. People nearby were concerned when they heard our high-pitched screaming in the elevator. When I told the story to a friend of mine, he said, “Well, if anyone saw the spider in the hospital elevator, she probably thought, ‘Poor thing…he probably needed some medical care and didn’t quite make it.’”

To this day, I subconsciously check my hair and face before I exit my car, just in case I have another uninvited guest.

Suzanne Travis, RN, works at UCLA Santa Monica Orthopedic Hospital on an oncology floor. A nurse since 1981, she worked in home health for 20 years. She has been an avid spider rescuer ever since her teacher read Charlotte’s Web to her class in fourth grade.

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