i killed my first patient.
she was young, dressed by light, poked by the first grey hairs that waved like the slippery sign of spring crushing the ice of an ancient lake. she wore a warm orange sweater. her nails were painted blue. and she was going to die.
i greeted her, took her history. she smiled throughout. said there was a test. i said i needed to check the chart.
do we have it at this clinic?
she said yes.
i said sorry i am new here.
she said no worries. it happens.
i clicked some buttons, apologized for being so slow. the computer wasn’t working well. it must be new too, i joked.
then i read that the pet scan showed what appeared to be a well-differentiated adenocarcinoma on her endometrium. that it was most likely inoperable. that the radiation oncologist said it was terminal. the consult ended there.
i looked at her. i apologized for being new. i told her i needed to see a doctor to ask him some questions.
answers came. we entered the room together like a mid day shadow. i shook her hand. she thanked me. i said you’re welcome.
then i went home, hungry, disappointed the metro was late again, talking in lower case, continuing this small talk.