Henny Penny Says…..

Henny Penny had been around the office for years, first appearing in one of my exam rooms as a practical joke. The rubber chicken was set up in stirrups for a pap smear on a particularly stressful and busy day as a joke perpetrated by my nursing staff. She then hung by her feet in the lounge for years as a reminder of the fun.

One night my phone rang at 3:30am, the alarm company advising me that the burglar alarm at the office was going off, police had been dispatched, and I needed to meet them there. I drove through a blowing snowstorm, and arriving, met the two police officers outside. They showed me the east door which was wide open when they arrived. They took me around the corner to one of my partner’s exam rooms. There, on an exam table, lay Henny Penny with a tube down her throat, hooked up to a breathing machine, looking for all the world like an  patient on a ventilator.

The officers then showed me a desk in the reception area over which were strewn dozens of memo pads.  “Would anyone do this as a joke?” the police asked. My partner was a wonderful physician and a marvelous person, but not fond of such jokes, and I could not imagine the staff doing this to her, so I immediately said “No, to me perhaps, but not to her.”

They asked about any employee or other problems. I talked of the employee who was terminated several months ago. I talked of recent problems between the local physicians and the hospital administration which led to the sudden resignation of the hospital’s CEO.

I talked of my partner’s troublesome patient who, that day, had repeatedly called demanding narcotics and threatening havoc if he didn’t get them.

The police took pictures and gathered up memo pads to check for fingerprints.  I called my partner, explained there was apparently a break-in, and described the scene. “Oh, the nurses did the Henny Penny thing at the end of the day” she said, adding that they told her that her trouble-making patient was waiting for her in the room. But she knew nothing of the note pads.

“Is there anything missing from the money drawer?” asked one officer. I don’t have a key to it, so I called the office manager. Rita said she would come right in, and while we waited, the officers and I continued to talk about possible motives.  “It looks like someone was just trying to send a message,” he said. If so, I was having difficulty hearing what was being said!

Rita arrived, and verified both the intact cash drawer and the Henny Penny joke. We then showed her the memopad-strewn desk. Turning red, and breaking into laughter, she told us that one of the secretaries complained that she could find nothing to write on, so the others in the office decided to help her, and covered her desk with every memo pad they could find!

The officer rolled his eyes, took the film from his camera and handed me the canister, telling me “you might want this as a souvenir.” The door? We guess that it had not been completely pushed shut by the cleaning crew, and the early morning blizzard caught the door and blew it open.

Matthew 8: 24-26:  “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”

The officer thought that there was a message in the memo pads, and I can now hear it.

The sky is NOT falling!