NORTH POLE, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN SIBERIA & ALASKA – Christmas has been canceled as Santa Claus fights for his life in the ICU. Thankfully he passed out presents first. Details are sketchy as hospital policy only allows two reindeer to visit with an elf at a time. According to several of Santa’s remarkably-inebriated Little Helpers, Rudolph has been granted power of attorney rights as Mrs. Claus has reportedly flown south to spend the holiday with Jack Frost or maybe a chupacabra.
It all started yesterday, on Christmas Eve. Santa started delivering presents an hour earlier than usual. He’d finally scheduled his bariatric surgery for first thing Christmas morning to allow adequate time for recovery in the off-season. As midnight loomed closer, Santa wondered if he should stop wolfing down food at every house he visited. The physician told him not to have anything past midnight, but it was so hard to resist beer and beef jerkey, plates of sweets, and the obligatory bottles of Coke required by his corporate sponsor. By the time he squeezed into the last townhouse chimney and buzzed into the last apartment complex right before the break of dawn, Santa felt stuffed.
Orange beams of light from the rising sun glittered on the frozen snow when the reindeer dropped Santa off at North Pole Affiliate of Hospital Corporation of America.
“No ma’am, the last thing I ate was a plate of cookies and a glass of milk right before midnight,” Santa told anesthesia as the pre-op form rapidly filled with notations such as “morbidly obese,” “ASA and MP 4,” and “panniculus.”
“The whole thing was idiopathic,” nurse anesthetist Agatha Gudell told that scary-looking lady in the maroon pantsuit from Risk Management (every hospital has one). “The guitars hadn’t even come in on the Nickelback song, and Santa projectile vomited a whole family of gingerbread men, sugar plums, Christmas tree ornaments, reindeer steaks; it was awful! My throat is still sore from the multiple rounds of Jingle Bells and Christmas carols we sang to resuscitate him.”