While it was resting on the chair, (without her noticing) I reached into the pocket of her robe.
I held the door open for her as I held onto her gait belt tightly as she held her walker; we walked outside together, her first time outdoors since she had returned from the hospital. She had been there for the better part of 4 weeks, the result of a surgery to correct a massive GI bleed.
Three years ago, she was being diagnosed with an astrocytoma. Now a 47-year old grandmother of two, she has stopped undergoing treatment for the cancer that is slowly killing her; the medication she was taking was killing her faster than the disease itself could.
She thanked me for helping her outside…
Then she smiled as I offered her a cigarette. “May I?” I asked as she brought it to her mouth, and I brandished her lighter from my pocket. She nodded. I cupped my hands over the cigarette as I flicked on her lighter, protecting it from the wind as she inhaled deeply.
Sighing deeply as she exhaled, she looked at me, speaking softly with a twinkle in her eye, “You fuckin’ rock.”
When I evaluated her, she asked me to help her improve her “quality of life”. Today, without a specific strengthening activity, mobility training or patient education, I accomplished just that.