I watched it happen twice today, perfect strangers sharing the cancer experience; talking, exchanging stories, and actually hugging each other when they part to enter an exam room where their doctor will meet them for a appointment.
In the out patient center, an African American man, wearing a mask, bald from his chemo treatments but with a beautiful smile, talking non-stop to his neighbor sitting in the chair next to him. She was a middle-aged, white woman also bald, but wearing a beautiful head scarf tied in a knot at the neck. She returned his smile and easily joined the conversation, sharing stories about her journey and how she’s vowed not to give-in to this disease.
Her nurse burst into the waiting area and called her name. She jumped to her feet, extended her hand but he extended his arms. Two cancer patients, in a big hug, then off to deal with their life changing ordeal.
Then there was the couple in the elevator with me. Just before the doors were about to close, another couple hit the button, the doors opened and now there were 5 of us. The first couple greeted the second so I just assumed they knew each other. And they did, but only because they had arrived at the Cancer Center at the same time today and had taken the same elevator up to the lobby and in to the waiting area. Now, they were leaving at the same time. The conversation was one that cancer patients would understand. “How was your appointment?” “How was treatment?” “Feeling OK?” Elevator doors open, “Drive safely home.”
Making a connection. Feeling a connection. Making friends.