Twas the night before Christmas and I sat all alone,
Because our fellow went North and never came home.
The instruments were strung on the table with care,
In hopes that anesthesia soon would be there.
The chief was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of patients danced in his head.
And Omar in his ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Wished we were settled for a long winter’s nap.
When out in holding there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the door I flew like a flash:
I had never seen the ER bring a patient so fast.
The lights on the top of the freshly laid drapes,
Gave a clue to the horrors at which we would soon gape.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Dr. Sadeghi and her resident, what a dear!
“Now Scalpel! Now Cautery! Now Suction and Light!
On forceps! On tie! On the retractor with might!
To the top of the colon! To the top of the sack!
Find the stomach, find the pancreas, all the way in the back!”
I spoke not a word, and went straight to my work,
And explored all the quadrants, then turned with a jerk.
A quick call to my partner, who sniffled her nose,
“Yes,” she said, it should be safe to close.
I jumped to the closure and gave PICU a call,
Even though they live right down the hall.
With the drain in place and the x-ray OK,
I knew it was finally time to go away.
I sprang to the papers and gave the OR team a shout,
“It’s too bad it’s so late, we cannot go out.”
But I heard them exclaim, as I walked out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and we love you, Dr. Knight.”
It was December 24, 2009. Our pediatric surgery
fellow had gone home on vacation. A child came in with
peritonitis and a pancreatic injury, prompting me
to write this poem afterwards.