The Guy with the Khaki Pants

The Guy with the Khaki Pants
From my slumped position in a folding chair, I watched my husband dig his cellphone from an overstuffed bag. A packet of oatmeal came out with the phone and fell to the floor. Gary hauled all sorts of things in that bag: cans of ginger ale, doctors' private cellphone numbers he had somehow accessed, saltine crackers, books, lidocaine, insurance forms, and a list-of-meds notebook. He looked like a sherpa without the Himalayan backdrop. I was sleeping off the last of the Benadryl and whatever else they put in my chemo cocktail. We were at the pharmacy in the lobby of Stanford Hospital, and I could hear a piano player oozing out a lullaby that sounded familiar. That place is like a luxurious nightclub with expert musicians, but as far as I know, they don’t serve drinks. While I enjoyed my medicated haze, Gary punched numbers into the phone. “But she needs two,” I heard him say. By this time, he had stepped out of the line at the pharmacist’s window and his bag spilled by his tennis shoes. Cancer had upended our lives, and scooping crap off the floor had become our new normal. I heard him ask if there was someone else he could talk to and then he sat next to me while he waited. “I’m calling our insurance company,” he whispered. I smiled and hummed along to the piano while Gary absently stroked the bac
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