“Every moment is an opportunity for greatness” (A Heschel)

Sinéad Donnelly

Sometimes at lunchtime, when I am tired and hungry, I can be irritable. So it is not the best time as a palliative medicine doctor to meet a new patient.

This day, however, I did not take my own advice and with my nurse colleague, Marion, I arrive on a busy ward to meet Mr Murphy as he slowly gets down off a hospital trolley following his procedure.

'Thank God I waited patiently for his hearing aid.

Thank God I waited for the student nurse to find his hearing aid in the orange box.

Thank God we noticed the glint in his eyes – "the twinkle" Marion called it.

Thank God we admired him being married five years at eighty eight;

to Sophie – he stressed "Sophia" as the correct pronunciation; "She is particular about that."

Thank God we stayed around waiting to meet him

as he slowly got off the trolley with plasma infusing after endoscopy.

Thank God I was kind to him.

Because suddenly two hours later he died.'

Dr Sinéad Donnelly M.D. is from Ireland working as a palliative medicine physician at Wellington Regional Hospital.