Girlfriend in a Coma*

*Don’t get scared; it’s just the title to a Smiths song.

My best friend gets sick a lot. And not just little, insignificant sick. And not sick in a series of relapses of one Great Sick that will stick with her forever. Just a lot of various shit comes and wreaks havoc on her body. About once a year, actually. To an outsider, you’d think she was some sort of hypochondriac but the truth is that each health problem she has is actually real. And relatively major.

(I hope she doesn’t mind me talking about this but I think I’m safe considering I’m keeping her name anonymous. This entry may disappear in the future, though, if it causes problems.)

When I first met her some 7 years ago, she had some sort of growth (it has an actual medical name but I can’t remember it right now) on her vocal cord that had to be removed and then the vacant spot had to be filled with a littleteenytiny bit of fat from her tummy. A year later she had a lump in one of her breasts that had to be removed and was tested as just a benign cyst. And then after that she was given an antidepressant that reacted really really badly with her system (trembling, borderline seizures, etc.) so she was hospitalized briefly so they could keep an eye on her while they tweaked medications. Two Christmases ago some drunken bodybuilder gave her a hug at a party and fucked her back up so bad she was confined to bed for a week and had to go to physical therapy. And then some masseuse gave her some sort of new, crazy hippie massage that literally made her knees unusable for a while and she had to go back to physical therapy. She’s also had a handful of other serious problems, but those are of a more private nature, so I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say she’s had a time of things.

It’d be different if she lived a crappy, unhealthy lifestyle, but that’s just not the case. She’s health conscious with what she eats (she was vegetarian for a couple years but had to start supplementing protein because of migraines or something… I can’t remember. Anyway, now she basically just eats fish and veggies and fruit.), she’s into supplements and homeopathic remedies, she sees a therapist and an acupuncturist, she exercises, she doesn’t smoke, she drinks sparingly… these things just kind of come out of nowhere and attack her and it really blows, to be honest.

And every time one of these things happens I’m always at the ready. I’ve called her in the hospital and sent her things to entertain her and I even moved everything out of her apartment at college and transferred it to her parents’ house a couple hours away when a hospital trip ensured that she’d be staying at home for a semester. I don’t immediately retreat into Holy Freakout Mode, but I do tend to worry a great deal and have spent more than one night worried about the outcome of her various illnesses and mishaps.

I got a call from her today as I was coming home from a playdate and was told that she was back in the hospital. After a few days of deafening migraines, she’d gone to the ER to find that she has spinal/viral meningitis. Unfortunately, at the moment she doesn’t know much about her treatment or her prognosis as they’re running a bunch of tests. In the meantime, however, I’m trying not to freak out about the long list of bullshit that meningitis is capable of causing to the 50,000 cases of it treated every year in the US. (Yeah, the girl’s got great odds.) Of course, I’m not freaking out to her and fueling any anxiety she may already be having and I’ve agreed to stay in town and not immediately drive up there until we learn a little bit more about her specific condition. And I’m sending out good, loving vibes and trying to stay positive but, goddamn it. When is she going to get a fucking break?

I don’t know; maybe God’s trying to toughen her up for something major in the future. Or maybe she’s just getting it all out of her system now. Or maybe her [un-freaking-believable] gifts with metaphysics are causing her to be somewhat of an amplified empath.

And, whatever the case, it won’t help anything for me to sit around churning out anger and frustration toward her rotten health-related luck, but I needed a second to just sit around and be pissy and whiny about it. Mostly because I’m worried and I hate this powerless feeling that I feel like I’m getting used to because of the frequency of her health problems. And then I’m pissed because I’m getting used to the powerless feeling and that that means that this is happening way more frequently than even reasonable. I’m not saying it would be better if she had something like cancer that kept coming back over and over, but it would at least be something she could watch out for and have consistent expectations of. It just seems like the Universe is flinging her a bunch of physical wild cards that she has to struggle to even make sense of before she can begin treatments. It seems a little cruel, to be honest. And that, too, pisses me off.

So yes. I’m pissy. And that’s what this entry is all about. And I’m sorry if reading this was a total waste of time.

But mostly I’m just really really worried. I’m worried about this particular diagnosis, sure. But I’m also worried about whatever’s inevitably coming for her next and how long she’s going to be able to jump all these annual hurdles. I don’t want to see her get worn down and start losing momentum when she has to duke it out with her health complications. That – aside from the unmentionably-bad worst outcome to health problems, of course – is what I’m worried about the most.

I just want my friend to be okay. And stay that way for a while. I don’t think that’s too tremendous of a wish.

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