At I Heart Lesfic, we believe the world could use a bit more kindness after one of the hardest and longest of years. Many authors have signed up to help IHL spread kindness in the world.
Today, the wonderful Chris Zett is here to share a story. Also, Chris is giving away 1 ecopy of Heart Failure. Below the guest post, you’ll find more details about the giveaway.
Take it away, Chris.
Chocolate is Kindness
As some of you already know, I work in a hospital, specifically an ICU. This workplace is stressful, emotionally draining, and physically challenging. Regular night shifts remind you that your body is no longer 25. But working there has its peaks too. The camaraderie, the knowledge that you do something important, and the satisfaction of helping others get you through the long hours. But some days, you need a little extra motivation for your shift.
This has all been true years ago, but the pandemic amplified it in the last almost two years. Fortunately, something else increased as well, the small acts of kindness.
I don’t know about other cultures, but it’s very common in Germany to thank the nurses (and sometimes the doctors) during or after a hospital stay. Some people leave a card with nice words, some add some money (“for coffee”), and many leave boxes of chocolate or homemade cake. But it can be anything. When I worked in a region with lots of vineyards, I got some very nice bottles of wine. One patient knitted a pair of socks for me during her two-week stay. My (vegetarian) wife got a fresh-caught eel when we worked close to the North Sea. Whatever patients or family members give, it’s never about the present itself; it’s about kindness.
Chocolate is a universal love language. Fancy pralines, bags of snack-sized candy bars, or a collection of left-overs from Christmas or Easter — are all appreciated and devoured. We often get the same kind of mixed chocolate box because it’s called “merci.” So often, that almost everyone at the hospital can rank all flavors by preference. (Coffee is the best, followed by hazelnut cream and marzipan.) But it never gets boring. Because it’s not really about the chocolate, but about the kindness that someone delivered it to us.
When the pandemic started, we had to restrict visiting hours and later had to ban visitors altogether to protect patients. This could have led to less chocolate because the families weren’t around anymore, and it was more difficult to drop something off. But the exact opposite happened. Family members got more creative by sending fruit baskets or giant boxes of cookies via online delivery services. They ordered pizza or Vietnamese take-out for a whole late shift. Companies showered us with gifts too. Some were fun and useful, like ice cream or hand cream, some weird and self-serving like Christmas ornaments with brand logos.
While the companies stopped their presents after a while, family and patients never did. They returned to simple chocolates and cards, and we’re all the happier for it. Because it never was about the monetary value, just about the gesture of appreciation. Most cards thank us for small things: a kind word, an extra blanket for cold feet, a smile despite a stressful day. And we even get these cards from family members of deceased patients. Despite their pain and loss, they take the time to share a positive memory. These acts of kindness motivate us to work on.
by Chris Zett
An opposites-attract medical lesbian romance about the power of kindness.
Dr. Jess Riley isn’t kind, least of all to herself. But her life is perfect, ticking all the boxes—successful cardiologist, newborn daughter, and a luxurious condo. That is, until she suddenly collapses from acute heart failure. Her entire world crumples along with her exhausted body.
Jess is forced to face facts—she can’t keep working endless hours, and she’ll have to move back home to recover.
To her shock, her mother has already taken in Lena Walker, a struggling artist who isn’t a stranger to heartbreak either.
At first, an unimpressed Jess resents Lena’s kind and cheerful presence. Gradually, though, the two women form a tentative friendship over tai chi, picking fruit, and evening walks with the baby. A sexy massage leads to a friends-with-benefits fun. But is it all too soon? Or should two barely mended souls try to risk a future together?
This is a standalone novel set in the same universe as medical romance Irregular Heartbeat.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Chris Zett lives in Berlin, Germany, with her wife. TV inspired her to study medicine, but she found out soon enough that real life in a hospital consists more of working long hours than performing heroic rescues. The part about finding a workplace romance turned out to be true, though.
She uses any opportunity to escape the routine by reading, writing, or traveling. Her favorite destinations include penguin colonies in Patagonia and stone circles in Scotland. Recently, another dream came true and she’s looking forward to many summer adventures with her wife in their camper van.
CONNECT WITH CHRIS ZETT
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Miranda & TB