|Image shared with my patient's permission|
"I love your flower! Who brought you that?"
"You know what? My doctor brought this in for me. Ain't that sweet?"
"Very." I blinked a couple of times to try to keep from getting emotional at the idea of an intern bringing this patient a flower. "It's a lovely flower."
"Yeah. But I got to name her. I haven't given her no name yet."
I picked up the pot and inspected it. "It's definitely a girl flower."
"For sure, she a girl. But I want her name to be something pretty but old fashioned. Like out the Old Testament or something."
"Hmmmm. Okay. What about. . . .Esther . . .or Ruth. . .oooooh. . .or Naomi?" I tried to dig through my head for some other good ones from the Old Testament.
"I like those names! Esther, Ruth, Naomi. . . .hmmmm. . .I still ain't sure."
"Naomi is pretty."
"Yeah, that is nice." He stared at the potted flower a few more moments. "You know what I was thinking of instead, though?"
"Shalonda. What you think about that name---Shalonda?"
"Uhhh. . . .Shalonda?"
"Yeah. What you think?"
"Well. I think. . . that's not so Old Testament-y. . .but. . you know what? The more I look at her, the more I think she totally looks like a Shalonda. Totally."
"That's pretty, huh?"
He looked over at Shalonda and then at Megan, the intern who gave her to him. His eyes became very content. And that was pretty much the end of the encounter.
And every day for the rest of the hospitalization, we rounded first on him and then on Shalonda. We sure did. And you know what? Both of them blossomed over that time, too. They did.
And it was perfect.