terminal

19:25

Curtains were drew around the cot, and the team stood at the side of the bed.

We carried the knowledge like a millstone chained to our backs. Heavy. Ponderous. 

Just before we stepped into the ward, we had seen the results of the CT scan. Solid white nodules were scattered all over the lungs, liver, and even the vertebra. It was clear something was not right. 

They were metastases. Malignant growths that had travelled from a primary source of cancer and claimed territories of their own at various other locations in the body. 

Even without the results of the cytology, her prognosis did not seem optimistic. 

The daughter sat silently at the bedside. The hum of the air conditioner was the only sound in the silent room. I twisted the cap of my pen in unease and glanced at my consultant. 

She cleared her throat. 

"The results of your scans are out." She said.

The patient nodded.

"Do you know what was the cause of this hospitalisation?"

She cast a look at her daughter, who smiled in encouragement and took her hand in her own. 

My consultant looked away for a second, and her grip on the cot's railings tightened for a moment. 

When she next spoke, her voice was measured. Deliberately slow. 

"We saw white spots in the scan. It's in the lungs, liver, and spine... In the local context, it means that it is likely something that isn't favourable. Of course, our cytology results are not out yet, but... "Her voice faltered.

She went on to explain further, but steered clear of the dreaded word "cancer". It seemed that they had caught on, and their demeanour shifted. 

It was a painful half hour. 

It was not pleasant - to be the bearer of bad news. 

We left the ward, but we didn't feel any lighter. The deed was done, but I felt heavier instead. 

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