Each year, as Christmas draws near, she calls in for a visit. I have almost forgotten how long it has been, for to count the years might be to jinx our luck. But each December, as she sits in the waiting room, the other patients eye her, wondering what she carries that needs a seat of its own. After all, some of them also bring in gifts at that time of the year — a small box of chocolates or a discreet bottle of wine or simply a card that says thank you for being my oncologist. Like fingers on a hand, they are all precious. To think that a patient who hasn’t slept all week in anticipation of a result could still find time to think of someone else is to be humbled. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say just how much I look forward to this particular patient and her particular Christmas gift.
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