The hospital is dotted with Christmas trees: plastic green triangles, some tall and some small, in lobbies and resident rooms and offices. The lights twinkle, golden tinsel glitters, and little angels top the trees. And yet, every posted sign or printed document reads, “happy holidays!”. Easier that way, I suppose. Covers the lot.
Shopping in the neighborhood, I notice that rows of neat little Christmas trees, in shades of pale gray, are standing upright in oblong concrete planters lining the sidewalks. In summer, the planters hold flowers in every color imaginable. Now, in winter, the Christmas season, bright lights are strung around the oddly ethereal trees, shocking pink and blue and purple to contrast with the dove gray branches and silvery bows. From a distance, it looks like an 80s dance floor.
We will have our annual Christmas potluck lunch at work next Monday and food from every corner of the planet, seemingly, will grace the table. Freshly made hummus and pita, spicy fragrant curries and rice, baba ganoush sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, sesame noodles and eggrolls, home made Filipino Pancit, southern fried chicken, red beans and rice, pierogies, baked ham and chicken and salad and cookies and cakes. Well, that’s some of what we had last year I think. We’ll see about this year. The potluck menu rotates because, in a busy teaching hospital like ours, the staff rotates a lot too. It’s a very nice event and a chance to catch your breath during a busy work day, wish others well and a Merry Christmas, and remember just why it is that you chose to practice medicine. You wanted to help people and you wanted to do it in an environment that is warm and nurturing.