‘Twas the night before Christmas in the PACU
It was late December 2016 in the PACU. As the end of the day neared, the staff were eagerly anticipating a holiday tradition — nurse Melissa McCullum’s annual rendition of the Christmas song, Sleigh Ride. The PACU was empty… except for one patient, a young man from another country who was tearful, frightened and without family in the hospital. He was undergoing multiple surgeries and faced a long road ahead medically.
As this patient was being rolled out to his room, it became evident that he could use some Christmas cheer. Melissa queued up the song on her phone and sang it, complete with dance movements and hand gestures. A miraculous thing happened: our patient’s tears were replaced by laughter and his frown replaced by a smile.
We quickly decided that we needed to adopt this patient and give him a proper Christmas, as he would be spending it in the hospital. The staff donated money and right after work, Laurie Thompson and I set out to go shopping. We returned with a Nintendo DS and games that the patient could play in bed, assorted candy, puzzle books, a rubric’s cube, Orioles and Ravens garb and tumbler, Nerf basketball, Star Wars game and shirt, and other small gifts that could help pass the time.
That night we wrapped all the gifts and prepared to deliver them the next day. Dressed in Santa Claus hats and carrying jingle bells, Lauren Smith, Laurie Thompson, Cris Yost and Brittany Metzger made the delivery to the patient’s room. Cris decorated the patient’s window with a Christmas tree and presents, while the rest of us sang Feliz Navidad.
Brittany explained to the patient that the PACU nurses wanted to do something special for him because he had been through so much and had to spend the holidays in the hospital. The young man was very shy and unsure as he opened his gifts, but soon we saw the same smile as the night before. For many of us, this exemplified the true meaning of Christmas.
I am blessed to work with this great group of PACU nurses and techs every day who never hesitate to do for others. Happy holidays to all! -Lauren Smith, RN