"Hey," said one of my medical students.
"Hey. What's going on?"
"I have a weird situation."
"I lost an earring this morning. It's my mother's earring, it's expensive. I've looked everywhere... and I think I might have lost it while examining a patient."
"I remember scratching my ear while I was in with Patient Jones. And ever since then, I can't find the earring. So I think I might have lost it in Patient Jones's room."
"You mean Patient Jones who just died, five minutes ago?"
"Yes, I mean Patient Jones who just died, five minutes ago."
"So you think it's in Patient Jones's room?"
"I think it may be in Patient Jones's bed. I was wondering if you thought it would be okay for me to go in and take a look."
"While his family is there, with the body, saying goodbye?"
"Before they wheel him out, yeah. Is that too weird?"
"It might be too weird."
"Maybe if there was a way we could ask the family to step outside for a moment, something medical we have to do, and I could take a quick look?"
"You're saying 'we' like I'm part of this plan."
"You won't help me?"
"What if you just go in and take a quick look and see if you see it?"
"But I want to be able to turn him over if I don't see it, maybe see if the earring slipped underneath him."
"I don't know."
"Come on, it's from my mother."
"I guess you can go in and ask the family if they happened to see an earring... if they seem composed...?"
"Will you go in with me?"
"Great. Thanks. I really appreciate it."
"Excuse me, Mrs. Jones? This is going to sound like a ridiculous question, but did you happen to see a silver earring in your father's bed?"
"No. Wait. Actually, we did see something silver. We weren't sure if it was a piece of medical equipment."
"No, it was my medical student's earring."
"Oh. Well, here, here it is. It does make more sense as an earring than a probe of some sort."
"No, no probes. Thank you so much. And, again, I'm so sorry for your loss."