The patient’s son and two daughters had said little during the family meeting. The older daughter steadied her sister’s trembling hand while the son stared at the doctor intently.
The doctor felt that he may have said too much, that he may have clouded his message. He decided to sum up the situation, “I’m very sorry but your father’s heart is just too weak. Although we are doing everything we can to help him, I think he is going to die.”
The doctor stopped speaking and turned to the nurse beside him who nodded sadly. He looked at each of the patient’s children, trying to give them enough time to comprehend how negligible their father’s chance of recovery was. He saw mascara and teardrops mix and merge into murky streaks on the women’s cheeks.
Finally the doctor asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”.
The patient’s son stretched his arms above his head and with interlocked fingers cracked his knuckles. He said, “Doc, can you tell me where the cafeteria is? I could murder a burger…”