Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Tree Ornament

And so it was time. We put up our Christmas tree the other day.
And no, unlike last year we didn't get a real one. It was a lot of trouble, and the 'real tree smell' we were promised wasn't noticeable amidst the dog odor!
Anyway as we put up the ornaments, Kristin asked me about their story. And one of them came to mind very clearly.
It was sometime pre-Christmas in 2003. I was a 2d year resident, doing a rotation called 'Medicine Consults' where our primary role as I had seen it was to be the surgeons' slaves (heh, at least that's how I saw it). The patients belonged to them, but we managed everything else while they were in the hospital- blood pressure, infections, etc.
It was a dreary month- early mornings, coupled with the cold dark days. And that's when I met Mr. and Mrs. C. A dearly elderly man who was admitted for a below-knee amputation for complications of a diabetic foot ulcer. Except one thing led to another and by the time I saw him he had been in the hospital for 3 weeks. And somehow, between our daily visits, he led known that he was particularly guilty that they were spending their wedding anniversary in the orthopedics wing of the old hospital, about 3 hours away from home.
And so I decided to get them a cake. Nothing fancy, just a small cheap cake from the local Hyvee, and brought it in on one of those rounding days for him to surprise Mrs. C with. I didn't think much of it; anyone else who heard his story would have done the same.
A few weeks later, they gave a beautiful Christmas ornament. A little angel, with a bell. She said that there were many angels in St. Mary's and I was one of them.
I never saw them again after my rotation that month but I thought about them often.
A few months later, to my surprise, I got a Valentine's day card from them. They were doing well and was home by that time.
I still keep these as one of my prized possessions. Maybe when she's old enough, someday I'll tell Alli the story.


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