today, on my way home.....

Casey was his name.... a sweet old man who was  probably a real ladies man in his younger years...swarthy, with cool blue eyes, dark curls and strong, big, hands. When I met him, he looked like a patchwork quilt. The lower half of his face was red and raw, with black  stitching running up and down his jaw and neck.

Casey had just had surgery for throat cancer. He couldn't speak, and drool ran out of the corner of his mouth. His deep blue eyes looked at me with pain and sadness that he could not express, except with a little pad of paper and a pencil. I still had a hard time reading his  shaky writing, and most times he would just get frustrated and throw the paper down and lay there, silent and defeated.

When Casey moved out of the ICU, I happened to pass his room and stopped in to say hi. He still couldn't speak, but was laying in his bed, holding a telephone in his hands. I asked him if I could help him, and he showed me a piece of paper with a telephone number written on  it. I called the number on the piece of paper, introduced myself to the woman that answered the phone, and then handed the phone to Casey. It was his daughter on the line, and as he listened, his eyes glistened and a small tear  ran down his cheek. I waved good-bye and left, gently closing the door behind me. 

I didn't see Casey anymore after that. I thought about him often after that day. Some patients stick in my memory more than others... don't know why. I guess Casey was one of them.


" Don't look  over other people's shoulders. Look in their eyes. Don't talk at your children. Take their faces in your hands and talk to them. Don't make love to a body, make love to a person" 

~Leo Buscaglia~

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