Doctors have to endure years of education and training to prepare for such a taxing profession. However, all those years of preparation can’t prepare a young doctor when they have to face a patient’s family to tell them for the first time, “We did everything we could.” Furthermore, it couldn’t prepare them enough for times when they are personally asked for a dying wish.
When you extend every effort you could’ve given to chase death away and still it catches up to the patient, the least you could do is to make that person’s dying wish come true.
Marco Deplano, a hardworking and kind-hearted doctor from Sardinia, Italy, knew this. The young doctor was moved to tears when he heard his 80-year-old patient’s dying wish. Again, nothing could have prepared him for this moment.
When he shared the tearjerking exchange on social media, netizens couldn’t reign their emotions in, either.
Here is the exchange, as shared by Doctor Deplano himself. It started when he broke the news that the 80-year-old patient would have to have another tube inserted in her to help her struggling kidneys.
The elder woman already has a colostomy. She didn’t want any more.
“You know, I’m already dead. You understand?” the patient asked, puzzling the young doctor.
She proceeded to explain:
“I already died 15 years ago. When my 33-year-old son had a heart attack and passed away. I died that day too.
I died then, with him. And then I died again ten years ago when they diagnosed me with this disease. But now I don’t have to pretend anymore.”
Amidst the doctor’s pleadings, the woman rejected the idea of “living a few extra days with these bags, with so much suffering and so much work for [her] and [her] loved ones.”
The doctor admitted he felt small and disarmed in the face of such self-awareness and courage coming from a dying woman.
When he heard her simple dying wish, therefore, he was more than willing to fulfill it:
“You’re special. I know you’ll go far. Give me a kiss, like you would if you were my son — do you mind?”
It is highly unlikely that the young doctor could ever forget this patient in his years of practicing the profession. After all, she taught him a lot of things the four walls of medical school couldn’t have taught him:
“She gave me the greatest lesson of my life, with those simple words. Death is the final part of life. There’s no need for fear, anxiety, or selfishness. Things that years of study don’t teach you. I felt so small there, in front of this magnitude.”
What do you think of this bittersweet story? With the way you’re currently living life, do you think you’ll have the same calm and courage to go when it’s time? Let us know in the comments section below!