One night, Hazel wakes up to her phone ringing. She notices that it is 2:35am and she immediately thinks Augustus has died. She answers the phone and is relieved to hear Augustus’ weak voice on the other end. He tells her he is at the gas station, and he has done something wrong with his G-tube and can’t take his medication because of it. Hazel says she is calling nine-one-one, but Augustus tells her no. He begins crying. Hazel grabs her oxygen and leaves for the gas station.
Her fear before answering the phone shows the depth of her concern for Augustus. The fact that Augustus is stuck at the gas station and needs to call for help shows the extent to which he is unable to care for himself anymore. Although he wants and tries to do things on his own, his health makes it impossible. This helplessness contrasts a typical coming of age in which an person becomes more independent.
As Hazel drives to the gas station she wonders why Augustus had gone there in the first place. She thinks maybe he is hallucinating because of his medication. When she arrives she finds Augustus sitting in the drivers seat covered in vomit. He shows her his stomach where the G-tube was attached. His stomach is red, warm, and it looks infected and she needs to call for help. Augustus tells her that he wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes because he lost his pack. He says he wanted to buy another pack on his own. Hazel apologizes and calls nine-one-one
Augustus has gone from a strong, intelligent, and vivacious person, to a sick and helpless individual who arouses pity in Hazel. The fact that he wanted to buy cigarettes shows that he is attempting to feel control over his situation, but the fact that he failed to buy them shows that he has finally lost control.
While she waits for the ambulance, Hazel looks down at Augustus, noticing that a “desperate humiliated creature” had replaced the boy she had fallen in love with. Augustus begins crying and asks where his chance to be somebody’s Peter Van Houten, meaning he to create something that someone will remember him for. Hazel kneels down beside him and apologizes, telling him that she wishes life was like the movies, with good guys and bad guys, but cancer is not a bad guy, it just wants to be alive. She promises to get him his cigarettes. He asks her to read him something, so she recites William Carlos William’s Red Wheelbarrow. She adds lines to the poem for Augustus until the ambulance arrives.
Even in his dire situation, Augustus is still fixated on being remembered for something. Hazel apologizes because she is mature enough to realize that life doesn't work that way. By realizing that life isn’t like the movies, full of brave warriors and dangerous battles, she suggests that cancer is not good or bad, but just a fact of life. This change of perception is continued when Hazel recites William Carlos William’s poem, which is known for its deep focus not on the heroic but the real world.