The patient's pen
For the first time today, a patient gave me a fountain pen: a Parker IM (or so I think) with a steel broad nib. It comes with a push converter and several blue Quinck cartridges. The pen bears the engraving, "Dr. Lance," which is what my patients almost always call me once they've been to the clinic twice or thrice. I like the sound of it: familiar and less distant than the usual "Dr. Catedral" for many first-timers. I inked it with the J. Herbin Vert Empire, which my brother owns but never actually uses: he remains partial to black or blue-black. It writes smoothly.
I will treasure this pen. I told my patient that I would remember him whenever I would write with it. He left my desk teary-eyed and grateful. He remains cancer-free but will continue to follow up with me next year before I leave PGH fellowship. After him, I saw some forty to fifty more patients, but I never quite lost the thrill of being the recipient of someone's overflowing gratitude. I am grateful for my work and for the daily miracles God wields upon the suffering.