Get Yourself a Sandwich

Georgianne Ginder says Get Yourself a Sandwich in The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, issue Number 58, Fall 2007:


Week after week she sat in a chair in the chemotherapy room at the university hospital (Massey Cancer Center). Very often the room is quite full. Side by side people seeking healing sit. They sleep. They stare…and laugh. Brave and strong…they come and go. I saw her once again as she drifted in and out of fitful slumber. It is easy to spot the kind of pain that shows up on the face. It sharpens the features one minute and dulls them the next.  The way of shadows – darting, playing, moving…daring. Then one day she intentionally caught my eye – could I come to try to help her? She wanted to try it now – Jin Shin Jyutsu – whatever it was I was doing.

I explained briefly what I was about to do and began by listening to her wrist pulses. She was in such pain and so weak that her voice oozed out slowly, wearily in whispery staccato puffs. She was almost entirely hidden under that blanket, cold and weak.

We commenced on her left side; found that her leg was extremely swollen; told her I would try and relieve some of the pressure causing such horrendous discomfort. Her pain was palpable. With closed eyes she informed me how expensive pain medicine was. Sick and weak as she was, she was doing her best to get better. She seemed to be pain itself…did not complain…just squeezed her eyes shut, let out a sigh and then drifted away.

Deep was her sleep, and then suddenly she awoke and asked how I knew what to do and where to touch. Asked if I had training for this. I told her that I had.. She loved the session and the feeling – the relief. The intense pain somehow was leaving! Her back…she mentioned her back. I gently placed my hand there and could have been certain that I was touching a cold band of protruding hard steel beneath that sweater, even though I knew it was flesh – skin, but I would not have believed it…could hardly imagine this. She had a tumor there, she said. It just came. That is what is causing these problems.

“I want to tell the nurse how much better my pain is.”

And so we did.

Wednesday after Wednesday we worked on that pain…worked on giving her a respite – some comfort. Yesterday she grew hungry during the session. She had always displayed little or no appetite but somehow today, in this room chock full of people, she felt as if she wanted to eat. She asked if I wouldn’t mind getting her a hamburger. Then she thought she might want some soup. too – chicken noodle. Would I mind?

I wrote down the order just so that I would not forget: mayo, tomato, lettuce. Boy, I would have made a miserable waitress, I thought.

“Get yourself a sandwich on me,” she said. “I want you to.” I said that I just couldn’t, but she insisted, and so I went on our hunt. I returned with her request and an order of fries for us. The cafeteria burger line was closed but the woman working there told me where I might try to check….”try Blimpies for the soup, too.” I found the McDonalds down the way, and the kind young man had a sandwich made just the way she wanted, and I ordered some fries. The soup from Blimpies was just what she wanted, what she had a taste for. My friend could not believe just how good that food was. She wanted me to have some.

I attempted to share the fries with some of the nurses and the patients receiving chemo. One man took only two. I placed the change in her purse. No one had ever offered to get me lunch before, I told her. I sat down in the next chair. We were breaking bread – a sharing celebration – what companionship is all about. “Any time you are here I want to buy you a sandwich,” she said, “even when you don’t give me the treatment. I feel better just knowing you are here with us.”

Give and take and give and get – and so is life. “Get yourself a sandwich.”

I feel better just know you are here.

January 18, 2007

Thank you, Georgianne.

Thank you, Mary.

Thank you, David.

Gassho, Namaste, Blessings

All issues of The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter are available at







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