A Walk in the Park
In February, a very good friend of mine shared with me some rather dire health news. Growing up as I did in a family of health professionals, and with my own health crises, I have "the burden of knowledge." While a regular patient goes into surgery believing that the surgeon had a fabulous night of sleep, awoke feeling refreshed and happy-I knew that my father usually went into the OR hungover with pieces of toilet paper stuck to his face because he cut himself shaving. Not only do I know the truth about doctors and nurses (they are actually people
, who despite their professionalism, make mistakes) I also know the truth about diseases. I know of a 34 healthy man who broke his leg playing soccer with his son and discovered that he was literally filled with cancer. He was dead within the month. I also know of someone who was told he had six months to live thanks to an aggressive terminal cancer. Six years later, he's not only alive, but writing, taking photographs, and driving his friends pleasantly crazy.
When X* told me that she had cancer, I hoped that she would come through it quickly, but I knew that even the best case scenario would be devastating and painful. And while I didn't want to think about the worst case scenario, I couldn't help fearing the worst case scenario-her death. For a young woman, I've had far too many friends die (cancer, diabetes, AIDs, suicide-a whole unfortunate range).
It turns out I feared the same thing she did, that she was dying. And during the following couple of months I sent her emails to let her know I thought of her, but not wanting to be a burden. I waited, hoping, to hear back good news.
And now the good news is here. I sat with her today, and she is just as beautiful and vibrant as she was befire, only more so, as I knew how much she had gone through to get here. We chatted about her health issues, and while it pained me to hear her describe the insensitivity of others, most egregiously some doctors, it was wonderful to just be with her and see her smile. And while it hurt me to hear her talk about how she thought she was going to die for the last 6 months, I was glad to know that period is OVER. She concluded her visit by saying soon we would take walks in the park together. I do so look forward to walking with her, enjoying the summer sun, and talking about all the wonder that still exists in the world-and all the more so because she is still so much in it.
*Out of concern for her, I will not even give her a nickname to protect her privacy.
Labels: friendship, health issues, illness
Bad Bunni posted at 5/07/2009 08:37:00 PM