I am pretending to be a fighter.

The phone rings, and since I knew to expect this call, I answer quickly.

He is polite, introducing himself, asking after me. Asks for me as “Mrs” in his respectful tone. 

“Can you tell me if she is home, I need to speak with her.” 

I know he does, and I confirm that he is, indeed, speaking to me. This is met with a moment of quiet, and I instinctively know he’s questioning if he’s dialed the right number, when he says, 

“I am looking for a Mrs. Coconuts to schedule an oxygen delivery. Do I have the correct Mrs. Coconuts?”

Quietly, I spoke, “I’m sure you’re used to much older voices when scheduling deliveries, however, you do have the proper Mrs. Coconuts.”

Again, another silence, and I could almost imagine that he was thinking his next statement through, “I did think your voice was young, not nearly the type I’m used to. Are you alright?”

“Aside from being tired, yessir I’m alright.”

“So…,” pause, “how…? I mean…” Vocal confusion, “why…? If you don’t mind me asking?”

I know he’s very curious. He has the prescription from my doctor that says 24/7 Oxygen, 2L an hour (not much but more than a typical woman my age should require).

So I try my best to easily explain my ongoing-not-easy-health-hell… “I have a myositis that causes inflammation. It has recently spread to my lungs, which has brought me to this point.”

Another pause then, “We don’t have to deliver now, are you sure you are ready for this?”

And everything swirling in me is screaming no, please, no. I’m too young for oxygen. I’m 31. 31.

But as calmly, and bravely as I could, I say, “I have to be. I can’t let it beat me.”