Sometimes it was easier just to accept and comply, then to argue and reject.
I sat by her bed knowing that there was nothing else to do. She was not a particularly likable patient. Perhaps it was the way she (or her condition) made me feel helpless. Still, I resisted the urge to just do something, scoot off and get on with the rest of the night call.
She was ranting about how her life had been horrible and that even at a time like this, there was no one by her side. She felt that she deserved better and Lady Luck had been cruel. I reassured her a little but mostly sat by the bed quietly listening. I did not want to lie that everything was ok and I did not know what else to say. Initially I contemplated how I could end the conversation and to move on with my work. After a while, I decided to just sit there and listen for as long as I could since it was not a heavy night.
Eventually her difficulty in breathing ended the conversation. The nurses came to assist her, relieving me of the huge uncomfortable sense of helplessness.
The next morning, before the end of the call, I checked on her. Her bed was empty. She did not make it past midnight. I felt guilty that I did nothing for her. On my way home, I played the Sound of Silence in the car. Always soothing and calming.
I told myself, it was the new year and it would be a better year.
It was only after a few years (more of experience) later that I accepted that I did the best I could have done, spending that little bit more time with her.
The end of 2016 claimed many, even on the last day for some of us. For those who did not get to see the day after, may you RIP.