Having made it out of the hospital by a reasonable time, it was no longer dark and daylight was breaking. A trick I learned I early on was to always park in the same spot. Multiple hospitals, multiple shifts, brain overload, sleep deprivation...losing your car is not hard to do. In walking to my car I noticed a man pulling a wheelchair from the back of the car for the woman waiting in the passenger seat. Something about them seemed familiar.
As I passed him, I caught a glance of his eyes. Five steps closer to my car and my brain made the connection. She was a patient of mine on a previous rotation months ago. I kept walking and with each step my brain recalled a piece of their story from my memory. The eyes were the trigger. I couldn't recall their names, but I could not forget their eyes, nor their story. I closed my eyes and I could see the office room where that visit took place. His eyes were moist with concern. Her eyes were yellow with the failing of her liver. It was not a visit with good news and so I was a bit surprised she was still alive.
By the time I recalled all this, I was at my car and they were a hundred yards behind me, one wheeling the other towards the hospital. I slowly pulled out my keys and felt regretful. I wished I had stopped. I wished I had remembered quicker. I wanted to ask them how they were holding up. Did she get on a transplant list for a new liver? Or, was she terminal? But by that point, I was simply too tired and they were already entering the hospital. Everyone has their limits.