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Reality Unscripted
The Patient Who Saved Christmas

Christmas 1983. I was finishing orientation at my first hospital job and had to spend two weeks working pm's before going on permanent nights. I can't say I was looking forward to giving up every evening over the holidays as the rest of the world partied.

On one of my first evenings, a teenager, a senior in high school, was admitted after a sledding accident. She was with several friends on a large hill nearby (that clearly stated "NO Sledding"). She was on the front of a sled with two others behind her. They collided with a grill that was cemented in the ground. She straddled it, breaking her pelvis in three places. Her face was a mess.

Initially, she was in tremendous pain, but as she slowly began to heal, so did her social life. She was a cheerleader. Extremely popular. And a lot of fun to be around.

Her room was a flurry of activity in the evenings. The parade of friends and family was endless. Of course they all had to leave eventually, and she was alone. Except for me. For the last couple hours of my shift, I spent as much time in her room as I could. We watched Christmas movies on TV, ate junk food, and talked.

I don't know how the patient looks back on her two weeks in the hospital, but I'm filled with warm memories whenever I think about that time. Just yesterday, I re-met her father after all these years and was able to tell him that.

I may have made her worst Christmas a little merrier--but she did that and more for me.

It was probably her only holiday in the hospital, but it was the first of many for me. She gave me the chance to look for the best in a situation and make a little fun where none seemed apparent.

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One Response to “The Patient Who Saved Christmas”

  1. cohen312 Says:

    It is quite humbling working on a day that “the rest of the world” gets off.

    I liked this story :]

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