Dear best friend

Dear Spud,

 

As you’re lying beside me snoring and making dodgy sleepy noises (I just poked you to check you are breathing by the way), It reminds me how lucky I am to have you.  It’s not easy being friends with me. I have a lot of baggage. But when you have as much going on in your life and you’re doing as much as you do for me is one of those things that is just amazing.

On the 11th March last year you posted on a support group we both use saying you had been transferred to my local hospital and I asked if you wanted a visitor.  You’d been quite poorly yourself and were quite far from home. I remember bringing you smoothies and juice, a colouring book and markers and a small cuddly frog (there may have been other things, but I can only remember those and you turning down a bacon sarnie on the basis you’re a rabbit). It was the beginnings of a friendship that I hope I’ll never lose. I didn’t expect to speak to you again for a bit when you were discharged because you’d been really poorly. Although I was worried about you, I thought you needed some space. But you messaged me when I posted a message on Facebook saying I was having a rubbish day and felt poop, both mentally and physically. This was only about 3 days after you had been discharged, so as much as I was pleased you’d messaged me, I was totally surprised. But it was yet another reason why I think you’re fantastic. You spent ages talking to me that night and I was able to go to bed and not have a total meltdown over something, that looking back, probably wasn’t actually that big a deal. But a year down the line, I’ve totally lost count of the amount of times you’ve done the same, sometimes even staying up until silly o’clock with me.

I remember getting the train to come see you about 3 weeks later and we spent hours just sitting talking and putting the world to rights. We both talked about stuff that I’d never even spoken to my lifelong friends about. But I trusted you as if I’d always known you. I think because we’ve both been through so much and have similar health problems, we just got each other. You understood what goes through my head when I get frustrated about the restrictions my asthma and joints place on my life. Very few people truly understand that, and it was so good to finally have someone that I didn’t need to try and explain myself to when I didn’t have the energy to do something that most people would expect me to be able to do without hesitation. And you knew about “The Spoon Theory”. Bonus. I know there’s other people around me to talk to. And I feel truly grateful to have them. But I don’t know. You just understand so much more. You understand the fear of ABG stabs in A&E. The fear of cannulas in certain places and the fact that sometimes I just want to stay in bed and not move because I just don’t have the energy.

In January this year, my mental health crashed in a big way. I overdid it with revision for uni, staying up until 2/3/4am and getting up about 8am again for about a week, it was my stepdad’s 2nd anniversary and things were going downhill with my chest, fast. This triggered a breakdown for me, and you were the first person who picked up on it and acted on it. You helped talk me down when I was psychotic, and drove over and dragged me to the GP about it when my exams finished. I don’t think I’d have had the guts to go on my own, and although my flatmate would’ve taken me eventually, I didn’t tell her how bad things had gotten and I don’t think she’d have gotten the message across in the same way. But you started the ball rolling in getting me the proper help I needed. You stayed with me for about 2 weeks in total, and every night when I was having a nightmare, you’d wake me up, help me calm down and then get back to sleep again. When I was absolutely terrified of something most people would consider stupid, you didn’t patronise me or make me feel small for it. You took me back to the GP again and again until they finally started doing something. I went through a phase where I seriously struggled to take any of my medication, which when you have multiple medical problems, isn’t really a sustainable scenario. You helped me get to a point where I was able to take most of them, and when I went into hospital with my chest, you made sure they knew I was struggling.

When I had surgery last month, you came to stay. You got up at 7am to be at the hospital with me before they brought me down to theatres because you knew how scared I was. You demanded they let you into recovery afterwards despite the fact they don’t normally allow it. When the anaesthetist changed everything they had promised me the night before the operation, I was 90% close to telling them they weren’t doing the operation, signing out and going home. I was scared beyond belief. But between you and Nugget, you got me to a place that I was able to get some sleep and wasn’t completely terrified. I’d let them operate. You made sure that the staff knew I was scared and have done so many times beforehand.

Things have been pretty rubbish in my life lately, but things haven’t exactly been easy for you either. You’ve had a lot to deal with in terms of your own physical and mental health, and have juggled a job, lots of health problems and coming over to see me at least once every 2 weeks since January. Most people wouldn’t have done the amount you have for me, purely because you have so much in your own life to deal with. But you stuck by me. And as much as I’ve told you it over and over again, I don’t think you truly understand just how much this means to me. Life’s difficult when you have a chronic illness. Looking after yourself takes up so much energy, but when you add in looking after other people, it increases the energy need tenfold. But you do it and don’t moan about it or make me feel bad for asking.

I feel safe with you around. Things aren’t as scary and I know that when I have a nightmare, panic attack or become psychotic, you will help as much as you can and if you can’t help at the time, will make sure Nugget knows I’m struggling. I know lately you’ve had to make some pretty tough decisions for me and I know you think I hate you for making those decisions, but things couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been the person having to make tough decisions that you’re not sure are the right ones, but I promise you from the bottom of my heart, I’m not angry and I’m not bitter. And I will never, ever hate you for making those decisions. If anything, I’m thankful that you made them. Because as much as it might anger me in the short term, in the long term I know it’s the right thing.

So thank you. Thank you for sitting with me in A&E. Thank you for making me be sensible when I want to sleep and should be taking steroids and drinking Lucozade (and stabbing me with hydro when I throw a strop and don’t take my steroids). Thank you for staying up until 2am and talking me through a psychotic episode. Thank you for being able to explain things to my GP when I can’t. But most of all, thank you for being someone I can call my best friend, who I can pour my heart out to and will never, ever judge me.

Love you Spud.

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