My nurse/sister/friend has been my constant companion since February of this year. By constant, I mean she’s been with me almost every second since I had my last surgery. Except the time that she was working and hanging out with friends and sleeping. But even then, she always slept with one ear open, in case I was throwing up in the middle of the night or in pain.
Beyond that, she was the first and maybe only person person to understand (if it can be understood… the doctors are still mystified) and help me with my weird nausea symptoms that started three years ago. She would buy me Wetzel’s Pretzels when we went out shopping and it was the only thing I felt like I could eat. She would sit patiently outside the REI bathroom while I felt nauseous inside. And she didn’t get embarrassed when I finally threw up on a finely manicured Brentwood front lawn. Really, she’s been my other half for about three years now.
On Saturday morning, she began her new life as a grad student living in a different city. The furthest apart we have been since I moved back from Chicago. She is not studying nursing, mind you, but engineering. I’m enormously proud that she has decided to make this leap and excited for her to start this new phase in her life. I am excited for her to have a life and meet boys and make friends and go out and learn and have fun. But she has done so much for me over the years, and in particular these last few months, that since she left i’ve been reeling from how much I miss her company, her good sense, her skill with my TPN, and the fact that she has cooked my meals and cleaned them up and kept track of my appointments and prescriptions and driven me around and tucked me in and ran upstairs to retreive some forgotten item for me for months now. Sara did a lot for me. And that’s not even mentioning all of the donation pillows she has made. It’s exhausting to do all of these things myself. Of course I have other help. My parents help me when they’re not at work and they call me from work to make sure i’m doing OK during the day. They nursed me back to health after my first surgery and they are spectacular caregivers in Germany. My boyfriend and a few friends are also a big support and help to me and that will come in handy when I move back to LA.
My parents have always said that more than a nurse I need someone around with me all the time to keep me happy—especially if I don’t have any activities planned. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, or as busy as I can be when I don’t have unlimited energy. I do enjoy regaining a little bit of my independence. (My favorite saying used to be: “I’m 27 years old. I can do this all by myself.”) I feel more “normal” now. But I think I still prefer being part of the cancer-butt-kicking-staying-happy-smiling-“livering”-star-trek-enterprise-watching team we had. We still have it. But it’s just not always next to me reminding me.
Nurse Sara says she’s writing a post about her side of the story. I hope she finishes it one of these days so I can post it. Engineers need to know how to write too!