Stacey lounged in her bed. Her husband Michael relaxed in the recliner beside her. The TV played some old Christmas movie softly in the background. They were spending some time together before he had to leave Atlanta to go back to work.
There was a soft knock on the door. Then a harder knock and the door flung open. "Wakey wakey!" Stacey's mom, Sheila, called out. "Lets get you out of that gown and into some pajamas. We have a surprise for you."
"Who is we?" Stacey asked suspiciously, reaching for her pj's.
"You'll see. Come along, Edna." Sheila grabbed the IV poles that held the PICC line and the constant Milrinone drip.
The trio and the IV pole made their way down the hall. Stacey looked around for anything unusual, but it was the same mixture of cultures, faces in beautiful shades of white and brown and tan, accents from near and far. Stacey loved the diversity of what she considered her hospital. As they passed the hall's Christmas tree, she heard a familiar giggle and saw the nurse's kitchen and lounge door click shut.
"Close your eyes," Sheila said. "Michael, you make sure she can't see."
"I'm on it, Sheila." Michael said as he proceeded to stand in front of Stacey and make faces at her.
"Okay! Come on in"
Stacey let Michael guide her into the nurse's lounge and kitchen. "Oh!" She gasped.
Stacey's grandmother, sister, niece, and her aunt and cousins were there with all the fixings for Christmas cookies.
"Since you couldn't be with us this year to bake Christmas cookies, we thought we'd bring the baking to you," Sheila explained. "We worked it out with Kris, Becky, and the other nurses.
It was a glorious afternoon, with more frosting on faces than had ever been allowed before. Laughter rang out and made people in the hallway wonder what was going on behind closed doors. "So," Stacey jumped back into the fray. "How are y'all gonna get all these cookies home?"
"We aren't." Stacy's Aunt Donna answered.
"What? Aunt Donna, um, I can't keep them. They won't fit in my room, plus I certainly don't need that many cookies."
"Silly girl," Donna said. "We'll each take a couple, and the rest we're going to donate to Children's Hospital. We thought that some of the kids spending Christmas there might need a little pick me up too."
"That's an awesome idea!"
"You look droopy, dear heart," her granny said as Stacey yawned.
"Yeah, I guess I am. I get so tired so fast."
"Why don't you go to your room? We'll finish packing up, then come tell you bye." Granny hugged Stacey.
"K, I'll do that. Come along, Edna," Stacey said as she wrapped her hand around the slender, cold IV pole.
Michael walked with Stacey to her room, and her family prayed for Stacey's ever failing heart, and the urgent need for the new one that would allow her to spend many more Christmases in the kitchen with them.
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