Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jewish Connection

By Moshe
Overworked and over-caffeinated are often words used to describe medical students on their surgery rotation. Such was my state of mind this morning at 7:15. I was on-call last night, got a few hours of sleep in the resident/student dorm connected to the hospital and was back in the hospital at 5:00am. So by the time 7:15 rolled around, I had seen a few patients, finished rounds with the residents, and was set to head to the operating room.

I ran to the hospital basement to see my friend Jay. He is a forty-something year old African American fellow who works in the nourishment center. We have become good buddies and he gives me free coffee whenever I drop by to say hello. “You look extra-tired today doc. Long night?” I smile and nod, and mutter that I will stop by later to catch up with him about his recent schedule change and why his DVD player is missing. “Ok, doc, grab a big cup today and I’ll see you later for a refill. The usual, right? Black without sugar and milk,” he smiles proudly as he hands me the largest cup he has.

I step outside the room with my coffee in one hand and the OR schedule in the other. I place the coffee down and pull out my pocket-size surgery book and try to read about the surgery when I hear a voice behind me.

“Do you have lunch today?”

I turn around and find myself staring into the face of a middle-aged man in jeans and a red sweatshirt wearing a colorful knitted kippah on his head. While I think I have seen him around the hospital, I am not certain that I recognize him.

“Um, no,” I respond, thinking that he asked if I have a lunch break today (we don’t get official lunch breaks).”

He opens his briefcase and says, “I have these franks ‘n blankets that I don’t plan on eating today. I have a double lunch. Here, take these throw them in the microwave for thirty seconds and enjoy. Don’t worry, they are OU.”

He pulls a zip-lock bag out of his briefcase hands it to me and quickly turns and disappears into a lecture hall.

I stand there in shock. I have no idea who this guy is but he gave me lunch but I am grateful. He even walked away before I had a chance to introduce myself!

When I told this to my fellow classmate, she responded, “You gotta love the Jewish connection. I wish I had that.”