“You are a good doctor.”

Over the past few months, since the announcement of the match. I have heard this compliment a few times directly and indirectly. I really wanted to reply,”It doesn’t matter, I just want to pass my exam, I don’t care if I am an awesome doctor.” However, all the replies I can muster was a sincere “Thank you.”

Today was another such day.

Just had a new batch interns rotating to my unit in General Medicine. We had a patient that had not been doing very well. At the bedside, we examined all the numbers, read through all his progress written, somewhat eligibly, in the rather worn folder that contained the patient’s notes, and I came to a conclusion.

Like a magician finally revealing his trick, I walked across the room to the patient’s wife who was seated in a chair. I went on my knee and explained what we have done, and what had transpired despite what we have done. I finally broke the news she wanted to hear.

“I think we are losing this battle. He’s dying. I do not think we can push it any further from here on.”

“I know. I’ve seen it over the last few days. I realised that.”

Then, I put my hand between her wrinkled hands.

That was the cue for the floodgates of tears streaking down her cheeks. That was also a sign that I might have outstayed my welcome.

“You take good care of yourself. We will make sure he is comfortable as possible as well as his dignity as intact as possible.”

She could only reply with a sob.

I got up and walked out the room with my heart wrenched. We made the necessary medications changes.

It was hours later, while having our lunch break, I think, after witnessing what I’ve done, my intern, who had only been with me for slightly more than a week, told me that ,” You are such a good doctor.”

All I can say was ,”Thank you.”

Arrivederci.