The phone rang at 4 A.M. No waking up was necessary. I knew where I was: Helmsley Medical Tower Hotel in New York City, eight hundred miles from home. Bob was in New York Presbyterian Hospital across the street. Bob, my life partner of more than twenty years, lover, friend, ex-smoker, hero of my life, and world-class packrat who filled our home with his collections. He was also a twelve year cancer survivor.
“Hello, Sandy.” It was Bob’s doctor. This couldn’t be good. “Bob’s coughed up a sink full of blood. We need to get him stabilized to stop the bleeding.” I grabbed a pencil to take notes, and tried to focus enough to listen.
“How is he?” I asked. Stupid question, Sandy. “Is he conscious?”
“He understands what we’re going to do and agrees to it,” the doctor told me. “He’s peaceful.”