Continued from page 1

Haneman was gracious and polite, she said. Standifer’s impression was of a gentle spirit who was not “your stereotypical homeless person.”

“I could tell he was an intelligent man and a very kind heart,” she said.

When he reappeared at the Shell station south of the interstate for the final time in October 2013, Terry said she could tell he was sicker. Haneman told her he had given up drinking because, physically, he couldn’t do it anymore. He complained about his pain.

Haneman was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years before but never underwent any type of treatment, returning instead to his life on the road and managing the pain with generic Ibuprofen and alcohol, to the best of Terry’s knowledge.

As Haneman grew thinner and ate less, Terry suggested a trip to a doctor.

“I told him just let me know when you are ready, I will take you to the hospital,” Terry said.

In typical fashion, Haneman rejected the idea until the Monday before his death.

“It was always too expensive, too much,” she said. “He always felt he could get along without it.”

Haneman would shoot down proposals - hotel rooms provided by Terry, hospital stays, or clothing - as too costly.

Even as Terry prepared to take Haneman to the hospital, his restlessness urged him to make for Florida. Haneman insisted he must keep moving. Terry, in her firm maternal way, noted he could barely walk.

At Druid City Hospital, a doctor told him he did not have long to live after reviewing X-rays showing the cancer appeared as a cloudy mass in Vincent’s chest, according to Terry.

Haneman was prescribed Loritab to ease the pain. He jotted down notes about his doses on the back of an old hotel bill in his wallet from a stay in Cullman.

On Dec. 20, Haneman agreed to move to the hospice after Standifer was able to get him a referral.

Latrelle Bell executive director of the Hospice of West Alabama, met Haneman for the first time at the Masters Inn, where he moved after the Baymont Inn, while he met with hospice staff. A team from the nonprofit assesses cases referred by doctors to make sure the diagnosis is terminal and the symptoms would be better managed in the in-patient center. Haneman paced and complained of pain in the hotel room as he met with the staff.

“He looked at me and said, ‘Are you going to teach me how to die?’” Bell said.

Story Continues →