Now that I have lung cancer, I have finally achieved the unisexual parity that the woman's movement longed for. Sitting with our IVs and portacaths, all patients are one. There is not much difference between men and women, young and old, lung and breast and prostate. There is only sick and well.
In Samara, a city of 1.2 million in the Volga region of Russia, 87-year-old Anna sits in a 100-square-foot spacethat is her reality. One of perhaps 8,000 elderly Jews in town, shespends her lonely days confined to her room, blind and her legs tooweak to support her. A sagging bed takes up most of her room, whichis one of five apartments that constitute the communal apartment inwhich she exists. The other residents share one toilet and a dirtykitchen.