Thursday, December 25, 2008

Silent Night

I am away from my family today.

I can't really complain. I just had the chance to be the CCU's "little Christmas elf" this evening, as the nurses started to call me: I happened to be "in the neighborhood" when they paged anesthesia stat, so there I went, blue jeans, jingle bell earrings, and all, to help the CCU attending with an intubation.

And I was with my husband and children earlier, thanks to my colleague Avram who offered to cover the morning hours of my call for me. I woke up to the sound of excited little feet thumping up the stairs and two adorable children jumping on the bed with cries of, "Merry Christmas!" and "Santa came!"

The reindeer had partaken of the oats we had left for them on the front steps, and the cookies and milk by the hearth had been (we presume) wolfed down with gusto. Delightful books, movies, and other dreamed-of gifts came out of their shiny wrappers under our tiny little Christmas tree. I sat in my almost-finished renovated kitchen - my husband's and father-in-law's mega-present for me - with the morning sun streaming in through a brand new window and sipped warm chocolate from my favorite mug. It was perfect.

I almost got teary-eyed hugging my children goodbye and leaving them today, but I know I'll be seeing them tomorrow morning. As we used to say during internship: "Morning always comes."

But for the moment, duty calls.

It's my last overnight call at St. Boonie's.

I finally did it. I finally made the decision to leave. My last day working here will be the 31st.

I have mixed feelings about leaving the St. Boonie's family. These empty halls I walk now are already haunted by ghosts this Christmas night - memories of moments with patients, of co-workers who have supported me. Like the time two nurses, an anesthesiologist, and a tech helped me change a flat tire in the parking lot so I could drive home. And the time people rallied around me when I felt threatened. And all the times we cracked up laughing over each other's antics, or inwardly cried for each other's sorrows.

So although I'm a little lonely this Christmas, I am warmed by these thoughts. I feel blessed to have come to know these friends. I look forward with hope to a new year and a new job. I rejoice in the Christmas morning that preceded this night. I am nourished by the ancient, hope-filled words from the Prophet Isaiah that have echoed in my mind and heart this season:

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:
they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
upon them hath the light shined

I spend this Christmas night striving to look outward beyond myself and my own little life. I think of being here, working here, as a prayer, an offering of faith that is well within my power to give. As for prayers made with words: my mind and heart recite tonight a favorite from the Book of Common Prayer:

Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, give rest to the weary,
bless the dying, soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted, shield the joyous;
and all for your love’s sake. Amen


rlbates said...

Good luck to you with the changes 2009 will be bringing to you as you leave St Boonie's. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Resident Anesthesiologist Guy (RAG) said...

Merry Christmas. I wish you success in the move ahead to another job location. I too was on call, but post this morning. My wife had the awful duty of holding off the kids' desire to open their presents before I got home. Thankfully it was earlier than usual.

Anonymous said...

The kids prayed for their mother's safe night and return home tomorrow. Can't wait to see you. Love, Hubby

gelci72 said...

Ramona - thanks! Hope your Christmas has been a happy one and that your new year is full of blessings.

RAG - been there, done that! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Hi, sweetie - thank you! Love you, and see you soon.

Bruce said...

Beautiful images. I remember lying in bed pretending to sleep on Christmas morning and watching for little head peeking in the room anxious for us to get up.

Best of everything as your job changes. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear what's next for you!!