My Responsible Party

The insurance company calls him my “responsible party.” The surgery center calls him my “driver.” The oncologist calls him my “caregiver.” My medical history lists him as my “emergency contact.” My HIPAA forms designate him as the “other” person who can receive medical information about me.

And he is all of these things. But to me, he’s simply “there.” I mean this in the best way possible. He’s there to: “hold this,” “fix this,” “tie this stupid gown,” “open this damn jar.”

He’s there for me to vent about the surgery center giving him my discharge papers instead of me and about the lab that continues to overlook ME and give my results directly to doctors that I’ve decided I’m not going to work with! He’s there when I worry that my arm and finger are a little numb after my port placement (totally normal and now completely resolved). He’s there when I have to make really tough decisions about the order of my treatments. He’s there when I say I want another tamale. He’s there when I’m hangry — it’s happened a lot lately because of all the fasting for tests and appointments. He’s there when I laugh way too loud at 7th grade jokes. He’s there to walk with me, between appointments around the hospital campus when it drops 20 degrees and begins to snow even though he forgot his gloves in the car and has nothing to cover his ears just so I can comply with Dr. Paul’s instructions to get some kind of activity for 30 minutes a day.

When I ask him about decisions I’m trying to make, he gives me his advice. And says that he trusts me to make the decisions that are right for me and in the end, he just cares that his wife is here. So, Michael that’s what I’m trying to do, make sure I’m “there” for you.

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