Late entry for Valentine's

ON MY WAY out of the Medical ICU to catch a quick breakfast before I did my rounds, I was greeted by unusually giddy nurses, “Happy Valentine's Day, Doc.” I would've told them that Valentine's Day is a non-entity for me—and not in a romantically bitter way, for those emotions escape me—but I replied, in the interest of time, something like, “Happy Valentine's Day, too.”

As I bought my coffee for take out, I noted red heart cut-outs in the coffee shop. There were red balloons neatly taped on the walls, too. Familiar renditions of old love songs by MYMP (a local band that often does revivals) were playing in the background. All of those reminded me of awkward high school proms from way back.

My Facebook feed would later be populated by photos of fancy quotes about love, of “wifeys” thanking their “hubbies” for the surprise (terrible terms, really—they make me cringe), of bitterness and longing disguised as humor.

I was reminded of married friends, and how content they all seem, as if they have found the right person God had prepared for them—and it makes me truly happy. I also thought of friends who are about to tie the knot this year (or maybe later), and how excited and overwhelmed they must be. I can only hope to find time to attend the ceremonies. I remembered friends who, just weeks ago, were devastated by breakups, and I still couldn't find words to comfort them exactly, for I have never been through any of such relationships, nor do I plan to any time soon.

Meanwhile I spent the entire day preparing for my Mortality Review, thankful for the few hours of rest given me. After catching a quick, healthy dinner, I went to bed early. I thought that restaurants must be booked to overflowing, and the traffic must be terrible, but I was where I should be—neatly tucked in bed, about to say my evening prayers.

When I woke up, it occurred to me that Valentine's Day has taken on a special meaning to me now. Two of my patients died because of fatal arrhythmias—the sad stories of my Review slides. Even if I have done everything by the book, they just died on me, unexpectedly. How, indeed, can one mend broken hearts?

It is a happy world. It is a sad world all the same.

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