Gift Of The Magi

The best gifts, tokens, come out of nowhere. It's true.

A year ago, my fiance . . . we had been living together less than two months . . . called in the middle of the night from the hospital where he's a resident, distraught, tearful but in control.

A middle-aged man, husband, father of three teen girls, was rushed to the emergency room in dire condition and barely surviving from a STEMI, the more severe of the myocardial infarctions. A heart attack. He didn't survive and my fiance supervised treatment that continued longer than was necessary. It was his first patient loss and he informed the family.

As he glumly told me the next day (and again and again) in the aftermath of replaying the night, "I lost something that night."

Now, a year later, a box of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with nuts and coconut, neatly packaged and wrapped, came to him at the hospital with an early Christmas card with four smiling women and a simple explanation and a "Thank you."

The loss of course remains. Yet somehow with the sweet taste of humanity even from strangers a memory will forever be altered.

So it goes.

HootieBootieInLuv HootieBootieInLuv 26-30, F 18 Responses Dec 6, 2012

Your Response


Based on that evidence and other, your fiance is a damn good guy.

Well, that's one person who thinks so. Thanks again Cap'n.

One measure of the man is the quality of the lady who falls in love with him. The Doctor scores very high on that measure. He must be special to have captured the love of one of the greatest ladies I've encountered.

Has the gifts help him heal?

You have a good man there.

My wife works in oncology. Not sure what's worse, losing someone in a shock, or having to cope with a terminal diagnosis over the course of weeks or months.

One thing is constant: the appreciation families have for the support they get from clinicians who get it.

Another thing is constant: the pain a clinician feels when losing certain patients. Some patients have the ability to grab your heart. It's painful to lose anyone. But sometimes, it just hurts more.

He may have lost something that night, but those cookies perhaps helped replace it with something better....

Something Hamlet: "For in that sleep of death, Oh what dreams may come!"

Perhaps, as in this case, with cookies that may originated from a far, far, far-away place.

Death is something unexplained, accompanies us all and, I imagine, always provides thoughts at every age.

Why is it something feared and abhorred (now there's one for "Words With Friends." Mental note.) yet always, always inevitable?

When another dies . . . slow and languishing like your wife observes or with accelerated urgency sometimes measured in minutes as Robert battles . . . do we see and mourn our own mortality?

I don't think so. Generally, we don't mourn the dead, we mourn those who are left behind who must deal with the empty place that was once occupied....

So, his time is ended, and he is gone, as it will be one day for each of us. Yet he lives in the hearts and stories of those four whose lives he touched the most while here, and they've wrapped their arms around the two of you. He lives in your stories, and now in mine as I tell those I know this story now in my heart as well.

A truly gratifying experience to make up for the heart wrenching moments in his career - a doctor's life

Lets hope your fiance never loses the empathy he felt that night. Being in the health care field, I have developed many relationships, and, have become attached to some of my patients. When they expire, sometimes it is very difficult.

He sounds like an amazing person. I fear to many doctors go into their field and lose that empathy; it just becomes a job. Even though the loss was great; he was able to console the family, I believe, because he cared.

That is a great story :) Sounds like he is one of the good doctors that we all hope are on shift when we have to go into the ER.

The morbidity rate is much higher in the hours following a loss by the football Giants and in the middle of a "Call of Duty - Black Ops" slaughter scene when his finger is on the trigger.

LOL ... I can imagine that. Everyone needs an outlet somewhere!

...and what reward (gift) does such an utterly selfless and giving man receive in return?
Yes, the love and respect of his patients that were born with a heart....and perhaps something far greater: the love of clearly one of the finest human beings on this planet who loves him so much that she must share him with others than they may live better lives by seeing his example and his finest of gifts.
Now that is worth living for, and worth giving your life to others for, so that they too can live life that grants such rewards for living it.

Aww, that's one of the most wonderful and touching stories I've ever read. So simple, yet so profound.

You're both lucky to have each other, and I wish the world shows that much kindness and understanding much more often in the future!

Thank you H. As we stumble through life good things . . . not measured by cost or who can shout the loudest . . . seem to happen without reason. Perhaps it happens more often to those who enjoy giving and returning a favor.

He is to be admired for his efforts. He sounds like a good man...and a keeper. All the best! :-)

Awww....He offered that family a piece of his kind Humanity in dealing with one of the hardest situations anyone can face.... That is a priceless gift they will always remember with gratitude. Beautiful story Katie...

<p>... and I would bet that if you were to ask Rob how he can do it, he would more than likely be humble in his tone and say that it is his job and that he did not deserve the gift that he received. </p><p>Life is a gift, and he did all that he could to give that gift back to the man and to his family. He did not just walk away... he could not just walk away. Although his shift was over, he never considered walking away. He gave of himself willingly to the point that he could not give anymore. It was also Robert that took on the burden of telling the family that the gift was lost... something that no one would want. </p><p>The loss will always be there, but the gift that Robert gave is something that the family will keep with them always. He did what he could, and all that he could. That will always be remembered.</p>

Thank you Love.

Know this one? "So it goes, so it goes, so it goes and so it goes. And where we're going, no one knows." It's from a song built around Kurt Vonnegut's line from Slaughterhouse Five about the intricacies and connectivity of life and eventual death.

... risking life and limb to change the outcome of a desperate situation when ultimately it is beyond their control. Nick Lowe

I also know the reference to the gift of the magi .. although I am trying to understand where it fits in.

A very heartfelt and personal Christmas story.

A very touching story. I can't even imagine how surgeons like your fiance get up and do it day-in-day-out. The physical, mental, and emotional toil would crush my delicate frame in a matter of hours. The first page of Henry James' "Washington Square" says it well.

Very touching. Thank you for sharing that.

So thoughtful of the family to remember those that did what they could to help. I doubt your guy will ever forget that night. No loss will ever be easy, the good news is that he will save many life's thanks to the dedication, passion and caring that make him special.

and the cookies were damn good

I'm sure not nearly as delicious as the ones that just arrived at my office. Mine filled with much love from the sweetest of them all.

Very heart warming and touching. In a world where so much onus is on the negative side, it was a nice gesture to say to him thank you, for all his efforts to try and save the man that meant so much to that family. I'm sure your fiance was deeply moved!

Changed. Something given back unexpectedly.

Nice, nice, very nice.