We had a lecture by a palliative care doctor today, who amidst his talk threw in one particular anecdote that really hit home. I'm actually just going to tell the story and leave it at that; take from it what you will.
The doctor was taking care of a 30 year old Internal Medicine resident who had recently been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. The prognosis was very poor; neither of them knew that at the time, the resident had only 3 weeks to live.
The doc asked what the most important thing in his life was; what he had left to accomplish before he died. The resident thought a while, and then responded.
I've lived my entire life wanting to be a doctor. I worked hard in high school and college to get in to medical school, really missed out on a lot of friendships. Then in medical school I worked even harder, because I was where I had always wanted to be. My wife and I got married during residency, but because I was so busy, we never got to go on our honeymoon. I love her to death, but I haven't had time to spend with her. That's the one thing I want, more than anything, is to be able to go on our honeymoon before I die.
There was a glimmer of hope that chemo would stave off the cancer for a while longer, so the resident elected to undergo one last, fatal dose. The complications were too much for his system, and he died soon after, never having gone on his honeymoon.