Q&A

“So, what are we going to do about this?”
Her eyes move from me to her husband, asleep
again between us.
“That is the question,” I answer
without answering it.
Our eyes are all kind, calm, patient, wanting the same thing.
She goes home to rest. Did she already know?
There is nothing to do.

Year Created: 2020

A PGY3 Medicine Resident. This story was inspired by an experience on a specialty consult service in which a patient seemed to be “running out of options.” No one involved: not the patient, family, nor any of the medical team was ready to acknowledge the devastating direction his course was taking. She recalls, “I thought about this (unusually, for me) vague but very intense conversation I had with his wife for a long time after.”