Look, said the doctor, I’m afraid I have some bad news. Your cancer is terminal.
Oh but doctor, said the patient, how long have I got?
You haven’t got too long, said the doctor. Maybe a month, six weeks. During that time we’ll make you as comfortable as possible. There will be days of discomfort, but nothing that can’t in the main be relieved.
But doctor, I don’t want to die yet. Can’t they operate or something?
There’s very little can be done. It’s too advanced, said the doctor. Would you like me to tell your wife, or is that something you’d prefer to do yourself?
I don’t know. I’m just bewildered. Shocked and bewildered. I don’t feel that sick. Maybe there’s a mistake?
I’m sorry, said the doctor.
OK, said the tutor at the Med. School. Times up! Swap roles now. The one who played the patient now plays the doctor. This time, you are to role-play breaking the sad news of terminal cancer to the spouse.