Do you know who Anna Nicole Smith is?
Of course you do.
Thursday, 8 February, I was the chaplain on the sixth floor of the FP Hospital, making my rounds to make initial visits like I always do. After the fifth visit, as I was sitting in the nurses station writing my chart notes, one of the nurses rushed into the station and grabbed a rolling chair and slid over next to me.
"I got somethin' to tell you," he said nudging my arm. I looked up from the chart with interest.
"Anna Nicole Smith just died. In her room. They don't know why she died," he told me.
"Anna Nicole Smith," I repeated, more a question than a statement.
"Yeah, Anna Nicole Smith."
My mind was turning. Had a seen a Smith this morning, I wondered.
He saw my perplexed look and continued, "She died, in her room. No one knows how she died."
"Smith." My mind was spinning. Smith, Smith, Smith. I didn't recall any Smiths. I hadn't heard them call a "code" and I had not gotten a page. I looked at my pager. When someone dies they always call a chaplain. Maybe they called the CCU chaplain. So I opened my folder to check the patient census sheet. No Smiths on the 6th floor. Maybe she was in CCU.
"What floor is she on?" I asked.
"What?" What what, I thought. Something is not right about this conversation.
"Is she a patient?"
"No! Anna Nicole Smith." He looked at the other nurses in station. They looked at him and then at me. "Anna Nicole Smith?" one of the offered, "You, know?"
"Um, I guess not. But I'm guessing she was not a patient," I admitted.
They took turns explaining the story behind Anna Nicole Smith. Intriguing, I thought, and said so. None of it sounded even vaguely familiar.
They all said it's ok not to know who she is or was. But I know they were all wondering what planet I live on when I am not at the hospital. Obviously one that does not care about Anna Nicole Smith.