Monday, September 17, 2012

Cancer Man: Lila

The call came out of the blue.

"Do you still, like, help people when they've got the cancer?"

"Um, yes," I said, wanting to explain that this was usually through an agency. They handled everything, but I just didn't feel like explaining anything. They barely call me anymore. The program is apparently on something of a downswing, even though Cancer continues to be popular.

"Well, I need to get to hospital on the 19th," she told me.

"The 19th of October?"

"No, Wednesday. Can you come pick me up?"

I thought about it for maybe a second, then shrugged and said, "Sure. What time and where?"

And then I asked her name. 

Over the past couple of months, I've struggled to connect with Hospice. I have the training. I want to help, yet when I get the cattle call emails requesting assistance, I tend to look at them quickly then disregard.

I don't have time. It's awkward. It's not for me. Somebody else can get this one.

These are the things I say to myself and then my heart sinks a little when I get a note for a call off. Medicine doesn't need to be delivered because the patient won't be needing it anymore. The vigil is called off because nobody needs to sit with someone who has already checked out.

I don't know what I expected and I can't figure out if somehow I've become afraid of dying and death.

But the call on the phone, I couldn't turn that down, not after she worked up the nerve to call.

I have no idea how she got my number.

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