This year, April Fool's day was meant to finish the breakdown of that distance.
My father was in the hospital in critical condition, my mother had eye surgery and was having difficulty getting clearance due to her end stage Sarcoidosis.
It isn't until I walk onto the Palliative unit and enter the room that I realize the enormity of that simple early morning conversation.
My patient... a woman I have helped fight back pain for 4 years, who has survived 10 years after a diagnosis of end stage colon cancer has died. I sat with the brother and my nurse (who btw I noticed was treating me as family not doc) and we talked about what a great woman she was and how just plain cool she was.
I missed her and I cried.
Several hours later I received a phone call from the ER about a woman who was one of my private patients... a 53 year old woman had just had massive cardiac arrest and died. I barely considered her a patient. She was that healthy... and now she was dead, oh, and could I please come and sign the death certificate.
After several minutes of stunned silence I put down the phone... and I cried.
“Death, the one appointment we all must keep, and for which no time is set”