Monday, December 13, 2004

12 Days to Christmas...

'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...'

That happens to be one of my favourite songs.
Christmas is drawing near. My shopping is done; I have a neat pile of presents under my tree for people who mean something to me.
Aside from the snow, and presents, and eggnog, Christmas to many is about love, friendship, family, the brotherhood of man. End of the old, start of the new.
I miss the good old days when I would meet up with my buddies for midnight mass at church. I miss having my folks here with me for December last year (I was on a horrid GI month, so it was nice to come home dead tired to a home cooked meal).

While the hospital isn't the best place to celebrate Christmas, I have to smile thinking about some of the patients I have on service. I call them the 3 wise men. The nurses call them the 3 stooges. Men in their 50's on the cardiac transplant service. They have been here for weeks, too unstable to be home. Waiting for new hearts. Yet, looking at them, one couldn't tell. They each had an IV pole, with nesiritide or lidocaine or whatever else keeping them alive. But on that IV pole, they had Christmas holly, lights, tinklets and whatnots hanging. And when we rounded on one of them last week, I did a double take, when I looked at the IV bags and saw a goldfish in it!! He used an empty bag as a temporary fishbowl. My team laughed till the tears came down.

They hung X'mas deco around the ward. And even put up a 6-foot X'mas tree in the family room. They flirt with the nurses (their wives rolling their eyes). Joke with the doctors ("Hey Dr. K, can I have your autograph? Right here on the discharge slip/morphine prescription"). Try to outdo each other with the IV pole decorations.

I told them they should each hang mistletoe on their poles and stand under them so that the nurses would kiss them.

The human spirit. Looking at them, you wouldn't think they're sick. But collectively, their EF (ejection fraction) is less than 50%. Mr. S keeps going into slow v-tac every other night. They have one foot firmly in the grave. But their smiles and resilience hide it all.

So before I get upset about working in a busy service in December, about not being at home for Christmas, I look to the 3 wise men.
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