The C Card Reward Points!

You've heard of playing the “C” Card. I confess, I've used it a few times now. I didn't want to, but in the middle of being asked for license and registration, I heard myself saying, "I have cancer." I was ashamed, but I just wanted a pass. It might be nice to have something concrete that I can pull out of my wallet in such situations.

I propose an actual cancer card where patients earn points for each infusion that can be redeemed for airfare, hotels, gift cards, even cash. Who’s with me?

Every doctor’s office and cancer center waiting area offers a stack of reading material. Travel magazines seem to have the greatest number of subscriptions. While I used to subscribe to them myself, it is a cruel choice for offices that host unhealthy patients who are warned to stay away from public transportation and crowds. I don’t particularly enjoy flipping through magazines with headlines like The Twenty Most Beautiful Places in the World You Must Visit, as I wait to compromise my immune system in the coming moments.

I want to be hopeful, but it’s not a good time to plan a vacation, not without travel insurance at least. These magazines placed in waiting rooms suggest bucket lists. It’s as if I’ve found out my girlfriend is having a sweet sixteen, but I didn’t receive an invitation. 

On seeing the cover of Travel and Leisure I think; leisure is assured, travel, not so much. As a cancer patient life is leisurely by nature. I’m given permission to stay in my pajamas all day, be catered to by one of my fabulous caregivers, breakfast in bed, binge-watch show and feel free to eat anything that will stay down, which sometimes means bread pudding. I can even leisurely dream of visiting the air-brushed photographs advertised in a travel magazine; Prague, Italy, Istanbul, even Seattle. God bless my husband who says you don’t want to visit Seattle, the homeless population is horrible. Greece is falling apart. The streets are crawling with stray animals. But when I close my eyes, the image burned on my brain is of my long hair blowing from a gently breeze as I stand on the Rialto Bridge with my lover by my side.  When I open my eyes I think why not? Six months from now I’ll surely be able to travel, I should be making my arrangements now. My browser with its multiple tabs open to Trip Adviser, Airbnb, Cargurus and SkyScanner, I’m sticker shocked by airfare alone. If only I had rewards points to cover the flight!

If the offices insist on tempting us with ideas of travel they should offer us reward points for each infusion we undergo. For those not interested in travel, they could swap their points for gift cards or use them as cash to pay off their other debts. It will make people without cancer start considering the card because the value will be so high. The C Card will provide all kinds of enhanced perks and 10x points on each infusion that can go toward whatever your heart desires. Pretty sweet right? Those without cancer will be calling the C Card’s customer service asking how they can sign up.

The next time I stare at the bag of chemotherapy fluids hanging from the IV pole, I won’t be thinking when it will be over? I’ll be calculating my rewards points with each drip.

- Beth Cramer

Beth Cramer is an accomplished editor and director of independent films, commercials and music videos. She is the author of WHY DIDN'T I NOTICE HER BEFORE? Irreverent, painfully honest and often hilarious, Why Didn’t I Notice Her Before? is a beautifully observed memoir that finds courage and humor in the face of undefeatable odds.


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