Wednesday, June 15, 2011
a woman of faith
As we approached our destination, she and I got up from our seats at the same time and headed toward the train door to disembark: she looked at me with round innocent gray eyes, and commented, "Busy day today, eh?"
To which I replied, "Do you ride this train often?" (It was my first time on this particular route and I had figured the train was always crowded. I guess this made me part of the cause of the 'busy-ness'.)
"My husband is in hospital," she replied. "Has been, for eight days."
"Oh!" I replied, a bit taken aback by her cheery disposition. "What's he in for?"
"He has cancer."
"On April 2X he had a kidney replacement."
"That's good, right?" I answered, trying to be conversant and figure out why she seemed so happy about the situation.
"Well, yes. He's had some complications, in and out of hospital, but overall, we're grateful."
"Where are you coming in from?"
"XX City. Visiting hours start at 2pm so every day I take the train to be here by then."
At this point the short pixie lady with the perfect bob-cut gray hair bid me a smiling good day. I started to take my leave of her, but she could tell I was lost so she guided me toward the exit. As we climbed the stairs she explained that every day she takes the train for 2 hours to come to the hospital, followed by a bus ride, and 2 hours home every night after visiting hours end. The trains are often late so she rarely gets home before 10:30 p.m. then starts again the next day. Rather than stay near the hospital, she prefers to be home because someone needs to keep things in order there. Plus, she is hopeful her husband will be released shortly.
Then she started telling me about her husband's surgery. "It's a new technique where they took his kidney out, removed the cancer, then put it back in. It's amazing what technology can do."
"How many kidneys does he have?" I asked.
"Only the one. The last one, they removed ten years ago. That was the beginning of the cancer." I promise you, she was chirping as she said this.
"Wow!" I don't think I would be chirping while telling this story. "So this has been going on for a long time. It must be tough."
"Well, yes. But faith has helped us through it," she said shyly and shortly. Then she quickly added, "Plus, we've been lucky. Good doctors, good technologies, all that."
The smile back on her face, she showed me that we'd arrived at the exit and bode me farewell again, then disappeared into the crowd.