Miracle Moments
Christmas Socks  

T WAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I was working as the charge nurse when one of the most disagreeable, dirtiest, disgusting human beings I have ever encountered was admitted to my unit.

His hair was unkempt and his beard was well past needing a trim. His clothes were all tattered and he wore two pair of filthy socks. He cursed every time he opened his mouth and threw whatever was handy at anyone entering his room. He required a sedative before we could remove his clothing to bathe and shave him.

The man became our most demanding patient. His offensive nature made it necessary for me to assign a different nurse daily for his care. It was hard to keep the Christmas spirit, as we were all required to listen to his foul language and dodge his breakfast tray or whatever else he chose to throw.

PullquoteThe man was admitted with circulatory problems and constantly complained of his feet being cold. He was quite angry that we had disposed of his socks. We kept blankets over his foot cradle, but still he complained of cold feet, and continued his barrage upon anyone entering his room. Sister Jane Frances even began to wait outside his door, telling the nurse assigned to the room to let the patient know she would be praying for him.

Two days before Christmas, the night shift brought in a small tree with lights and decorations and placed it in this disagreeable patient’s room while he was asleep. If he noticed the tree, he never acknowledged it, but continued to harangue us about his cold feet. I was off the following day with my last minute shopping and managed to buy a pair of socks for our unlikable patient. My children wrapped the socks, tied the package with a ribbon, and attached a card from Santa Claus.

I reported to work early on Christmas morning so I could place my socks under the patient’s tree. Imagine my surprise to find seventeen pairs of socks from his nurses and one pair of crocheted slippers from Sister Jane Francis already there.

He was awake, and just stared as I placed my small package with the others. He never did say thank you, but I know I saw a tear on his cheek as I wished him a Merry Christmas.

Kay Drake, RN
CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital
Port Arthur, Texas