{Doing} when there is nothing to be done

A doctor narrates how one early morning round of patient intakes in an overcrowded hospital transformed their understanding of what can and can't be done within the limits of medical care in CMAJ. An elderly gentleman breathing heavily through an oxygen mask is in the last stages of life and is attended by his son: "Neither the patient nor his son, who rarely left his side, expected anything."
The doctor had always measured their success and satisfaction from medical achievements but in this instance, that is impossible. Instead, the doctor turns confidante, and simply listens to this old man's final words. The result is a transformative and richly-rewarding experience.
I chose to illustrate the elderly gentleman in extreme close up in order to focus on the wrinkled face and cool blue shadows of impending death. I completed the face in acrylics, and then grew apprehensive before applying the oxygen mask. So I painted the oxygen mask seperately on acetate. Here are both.


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