Yesterday I was waiting in my oncologist's office for my bi-weekly pre-chemo appointment when a serendipitous thing happened. I had a 10:15 appt. but, as usual, things were running about 20 min late. A man walked up to the counter and asked if he would be able to get out of the office by 11 am (he had a 10:30 appt.) to catch a bus back home to Sacramento ( About 2-3 hours from the hospital). He said the next bus wasn't for 5 hours. Yuck!
As soon as he sat down I asked if he'd like to switch appointment times with me. He enthusiastically said "yes!' and I went to the check-in nurse to tell her what I wanted to do.
I think this is one of those "gifts" from cancer. I most probably would have done the same thing pre-cancer, but I would have stopped to consider what I had to do that day, if it would make me late for other appointments, etc. Now, I don't even blink an eye. If I can help another sick person, it is a Mitzvah (for you non-jews out there, a Mitzvah is like a blessing - it's a covenant you make to do good in the world whenever you can). I think that compassion can only lead to a better world, and if I've gained compassion from this experience, then I am thankful for it.
One day someone I know will get cancer or AIDS or some other dreaded disease. I now know how to be a better Mitzvah for them.