• Member Since 31st May, 2012
  • offline last seen June 7th


Bringing personal and commission horse words to you over a cup of steaming Earl Gray! I write in many genres, for all audiences. Check my library bookshelves for convenient sorting of my stories.


An audio adaptation exists for this story, which was mentioned on Equestria Daily. Reviews can also be found here, here, and a Royal Canterlot Library interview/feature can be found here! Enjoy!

Enter Painless - a young resident physician at Manehattan East Side Memorial Hospital who drew the short lot, and ended up working through Hearth's Warming. With the city caught in the grips of a blizzard that weatherponies are still trying to get under control, the night is boring, the decorations contrived, and the coffee is as bitter as his sensibilities.

Tonight, Painless has a single, pointless task assigned to him - To keep the company of a lonesome, unconscious stallion who is essentially already dead. In so doing, a young doctor will learn that medicine is about more than scalpels and technique.

It's also about mending broken hearts.

(Note: The character 'Painless' is an homage to the 1970s-80s television series M*A*S*H. For convenience sake, December 25th has been used in this story as the date for Hearth's Warming.)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 45 )

Was.....this based on a tv episode? This seems familiar

I have to admit, this was an amazing story. You even got me to cry. Which has NEVER happened at this hour. It was beautiful and sad :pinkiesad2: and it's earned you a follow. Congrats on writing this masterpiece, it's got those feels in it.

This story was influenced by the MASH TV episode "Death takes a holiday", which originally aired in 1980.

It's always heartwarming to know that somebody enjoyed something of mine like that. Thanks so much for reading! :heart:

7894373 It was no problem! I just got a feed date for The Writers Group and the title seemed interesting so I turned it on. I was kind of expecting it to be an ApplePie romance fic (don't ask...) but it was way better than that! :pinkiehappy: It's not a common thing for me to actuallt read a story that's from a group though, so good title too! Very fitting with the story as well, and I loved Docta' Painless, he's awesome!

7894373 thought so. who played the superior and one who stayed at the patient 's bedside the characters i mean?

Um..are you asking about the MASH episode or this story? This story is just Mister Cake and two OCs.

Well, the title was almost "Suicide is Painless", in honor of the influence for the story and the name of the protagonist, but I thought people might misunderstand that title because there's no suicide occurring in the story. So I just went with how Cup Cake signed her letter. I can totally see why it might be interpreted as an ApplePie ship though! :rainbowlaugh:

Painless has a lot to do after that story. Perhaps I should have him to it sometime. Or maybe somebody else can, heh.

In the Mash episode, the patient was Hawkeye's, and he was the one who decided not to allow the death to occur on Christmas Day. I believe Houlihan was the attending nurse. The characters in this story are both doctors however, and their dynamic is somewhat different from what was happening in the MASH episode. This is based on that, not a copy of it :)

This deserves far more recognition. That was beautifully written. WishyWish, you've done it again.

Aw, thanks :twilightblush:

Glad you enjoyed it! :pinkiehappy:

7916575 And I'm glad we have authors like you on FIMFiction. Keep it up, you legend.

You flatter me, but thank you so much :twilightblush:

7916817 Anytime, my friend.

Well, anytime you release a new story. :twilightblush:

As you know, I have been keeping myself from reading more of your work as a way of motivating myself, and it has worked. This particular 'carrot' was well worth the wait and effort I put into earning it.

Over Long rant ahead, this story brought out old memories, sorry.

I spent years working in the emergency medical field, as an Abulance E.M.T., and I have seen the pattern of physicians, and nurses, sliding into clinical indifference. It is sadly almost universal. In my observation, the higher up the medical ladder you go, the faster the heart hardens. (Although the flip side is that the lower someone is on the ladder, the more likely they are to have sticky fingers :applecry: )

I look back at the 'care' facilitys I had to frequent, and the rooms set aside for the hopeless cases. So many abandoned people, many of them aware of their condition, and that their caretakers looked at them as nothing more than a burden. Knowing that they are being waited on to die.

Most living beings have a natural instinct to get as far away from dying members of their species as possible, and humans are no different. As sapient beings, humans (and ponies) are able to make the conscious choice to override our programming, and try to help those in need. What many people don't think about is the emotional weight the caregivers are expected to bear. Clinically speaking, any time someone close to you dies, it raised your stress level, now imagine that your job for the next twenty years is to take care of people who are likely to die in your care. How strong an attachment would you allow yourself to get to the tenth, or fiftieth patient with single digit survival expectancy.

What I am trying to point out is that compassion and understanding need to be on both sides of the bed, and to expect a physician to make close connections with all their patients is just as cruel to the Dr, as the indifference is to the patient. The best thing for the system is for more people to volunteer as caretakers in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab facilitys, and hospices. Let those who can maintain a plausible deniability about the medical side offer emotional support. Volunteers are also able to rotate out, as need be, unlike the physician who most often is stuck in the ward.

Tl:dr, Doctors are people too, and just as fallible as anyone else. Instead of pointing fingers, lend a hand, or hoof, and help anyone you can.

I see what you're saying. This was borne out of the medical romanticism of MASH, but whether or not Dr. Poultice did the right thing, well...eye of the beholder, no?

Well put commentary, I thank you for considering it on that level :twilightsmile:

Second break, fifty third paragraph:

Painless could no nothing for him.

Guessing it should be "could do nothing."

Anyway, about the actual story of yours, but first I wanna talk about the episode of M*A*S*H it inspires from.

Not the first Christmas episode, nor the last one, but probably THE most hard hitting one of them all, and dare I say one of the hardest hitting episodes over all. It could be argued about other episodes, the morals, or the situations and how the group of the 4077th handle things, but this episode happens during Christmas, one of the biggest holidays not just for us all in general, but especially for any service man or woman between now and the revolution. There is a lot of emotion that can be had on this holiday, and the sad thing is this episode had only about 22 minutes of air time to do it. And they pulled it off amazingly, because on television you don't really need to devote an hour on one thing, even though they do it today with programs.

Tasked with something he know wouldn't be moral to most, and insane to the rest (which arguably they were) B.J., oddly enough, decides to keep the man alive until after Christmas. Being a father himself, as the dying soilder, he wouldn't want his family thinking of Christmas as the day their daddy died. It was a lot more grim and graphic in the episode, but that's what made it more sad from a visual aspect. Watching as Hawkeye and B.J take turns (or maybe it was only B.J?) keeping his heart beating manually, massaging it, just trying to beat the clock. Margret on the side lines, being there not only for the dying solider, but for the two doctors as well.

So this is where your fic comes in. You're able to expand on it, show us more emotion, and better yet, put a different twist on the characters involved and have a moral that would hit home harder for us, versus the likes of Hawkeye, B.J, or Margret. They dealt with death on a daily basis. The general Fimfic user, not so much. Even so, we still need to be reminded of it, and be shown that sometimes, we can't be cold about it as much as we'd want to. It's not what makes us human. We need to be able to feel, and your fic shows us just that.

I could probably rant on about this, and about other examples of M*A*S*H episodes, but naw. Your fic tells enough of what is needed to be said. Bravo. From one M*A*S*H fan to another, you did the episode more than justice. I dare say, you improved on it on the fact that they were limited on what they could do. With this fic, you took the idea and blew it out of the water, and made it feel even more genuine and real. More heartfelt and honest. More sad, and heartwarming for all the right reasons.

So, thanks for this. This is gonna be on my list of my top stories to date on Fimfic.

Could do nothing, yes. I never release something without a proofread, but I miss a few sometimes anyway, sorry. Oddly enough, I read this story out loud three times over to create the audio adaptation, and every single time I read it with do there instead of no. Curious how the mind sees what it wants to see.

I had originally considered titling this story 'Suicide is Painless', but I assume the majority of readership on Fimfiction would not have understood the reference, and thus wondered why the story does not have an instance of suicide in it. I guess you're one of the few who probably knows that the name 'Painless' came from the dentist in the original MASH movie. I thought it somehow an apropos name for the flavor of the story in general.

I don't think I captured every aspect of the source episode, but then, I wasn't looking to try, as I didn't want to make a carbon copy with ponies in a different setting. The main event I wanted to pay homage to was the one you just went into detail about - the meaning behind keeping a dead man alive. Why it was important to continue his suffering just a little longer, and why he probably would have wanted it that way.

I wanted to pay my respects to the source material, but still create something that would be relevant to our pony friends. I can't be a judge of my own work, so I can only hope I accomplished that.

I appreciate your rousing words - certainly this encounter has inspired me to create more such stories. I've had my mind on another MASH-inspired tale in particular that keeps falling by the wayside in terms of grabbing my attention. Perhaps it will now!

Author Interviewer

You killed Mr. Cake, you bastard! :raritycry:

The sacrifices we make for a somber moment :fluttercry:

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Later Reviews #80.

My review can be found here.

I admit I've never heard the word 'glurge' before. There's a trope word for everything I guess, and you learn something new every day :pinkiegasp:

Thanks for taking the time to write up a review! It's always nice to hear what folks have to say in depth, and to hear what (if anything) they took away. :heart:

You're welcome! It was a good story; I hope more folks find it and read it. :twilightsmile:

I can only hope, as I had a very good time writing it. And recording it too :twilightsmile:

It's going on 50 years since the movie came out & 35 years since the show went off the air, but IIRC (Watched it every week) "Painless" was one of the surgeons. He said he was contemplating suicide & the others pranked him (ICR how) to snap him out of it. The show's theme song "Suicide Is Painless" was a reference to this. But, IIRC "Painless" was in the movie & at least the first book, but not the TV show.

Haven't read this yet, but I've downloaded it & plan to read it Real Soon Now.

Correct on all counts, save that Painless was the company dentist, not a surgeon :twilightsmile:

I hope you enjoy it!

This was beautiful and I loved reading it, but god damn it, Stop kicking my heart in the dick!

What a way to put it :rainbowlaugh:

This one might have dick kicking value too, perhaps!

A Christmas story. Of course:

“You’re sliding down a slippery slope – a slope called indifference. Keeping a pony healthy is ten percent technique and ninety percent frame of mind. You’re the most talented resident I have here right now, from a technical standpoint. When you got here your heart was bigger, but now-“ She held her hooves out and made a crushing gesture, moving them together until they touched, “Now you’re blocking things out. Protecting your own feelings by hardening yourself to the world.”

(You know, Mr Magoo was my introduction to A Christmas Carol, when that I was and a little tiny boy.)

Now this is a pre-read comment, but I think talking to the dead helps Morticians feel at ease

That wouldn't surprise me really. Hope you enjoy the read :twilightsmile:

Now that I DID read the story... I have tears welling up. I love it, and quite honestly you should make more stories with "Doctor Painless"

Then it has continued to do it's job. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. As for more Painless? I dunno, I'd have to try to outdo this one!

Using a character like Mr. Cake was extremely effective in making us emotionally invested... Very touching, and a great update and expansion of the idea from the classic episode!

Glad you enjoyed it! :heart:

Oh wow, that was heart wrenching, amazing piece of work.

Glad you enjoyed it! :twilightsmile:

This popped up while I was browsing, so I took a general survey of the story. Between the title, the title, tags, description, and chapter title, I figured the story was about a doctor assigned to the morgue. I just had to search for names, and Pinkie's came first. When I read the context of where her name appeared, I figured she was the victim.

I don't normally go for sad fictions, and it's way out of season, but I nothing better to do caming to mind. I listened to the audio book. No way could I focus on the text right now.

With that intro, I figured they were talking about Pinkie. I was a little relieved when the mare in surgery was called old. 'It's OK, Pinkie must have lived a good life and this doctor is learning about the patient he was so clinical about losing,' I thought to myself. 'Based on the peeks I took, it looks like the Cakes will be visiting her while Painless judges them.' WRONG!

While not gut retching for me, I did find some irrigation happening on my face toward the end with the letter. I'm aware I'm likely way too late for giving any feedback for any possible sequel (I haven't checked for one), but I kind of hope Dr. Painless follows the shopping list and brings enough for a single recipe when he delivers the news.

At one point, I was wondering if one or both of the twins were also getting killed. Oddly, Mrs. Cake didn't even come to mind, unless it was in a scenario where it was Pinkie visiting the whole family in the morgue.

P.S. You don't have a Death tag.

Thanks for taking a look at it. Interesting the approach you took before reading it. The main concern I had over misunderstanding what the reader was in store for is the chapter title, but as the description mentions, that's a nod to the source material the story pays homage to.

As for a sequel? I've thought about it from time to time, but wasn't sure if maybe it was best to let this one lie. Perhaps not, particularly if folks would like to read one...

As for the 'death' tag, I think this story might have been published before the site added that 'warning tag' feature business. Point though, thank you.

Thanks for reading!

Well, I'm not familiar with MASH past the concept that they are a medical unit serving ten years during a conflict that lasted only three years. So, when I read the chapter title and early on, I was thinking Pinkie had lost it big time.

Eleven years, but yes. And Bart Simpson was ten years old in 1990, so...he's the most ten-year-old thirty-nine-year old out there :rainbowlaugh:

M.A.S.H. has a special place for me, even though it concluded when I was only four. Life in reruns.

Haven't read it yet, saw the description and that it was 'homage' to MASH, Is this basically the plot of M*A*S*H Season 9 episode 5, Death Takes a Holiday?

Wow, first I find a "Quantum Leap" tribute, then one for a favorite episode of "TNG," and now MASH? Awesome possum. What next, "Ghostbusters"? "Groundhog Day"? (I just used Fimfic's search thingie & found The Best Night Ever, which looks good. I'll probably get around to reading it next spring. Ditto "The Pony Ghostbusters.")

Apologies for the extremely slow replies.

Yes, that was the exact episode that the inspiration for this was drawn from. Well done!

I haven't watched MASH in a long time, but I'm a big fan from way back, and such moments speak to me. Note that there's an audio drama for this story if you're at all interested. Meanwhile, thanks for reading!

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