Written by Sass
So. Life sure knows how to give you a good ol' kick in the pants, doesn't it?
Just when you're cruisin' along, feeling like you're figuring out the answers to all of life's biggest questions, the Karma Waitress comes along and serves you a big juicy sh*tburger to eat. And she always forgets the fries.
Karma's a real b*tch sometimes.
I had my weekend planned, down to the very minute. I was going to go have lunch with my childhood best friend on Saturday. If you regularly read my blog, you may remember that I have a 33 year old friend who had a heart attack on March 20th? That would be the one. She had a heart attack, a double bypass, and a ten day stint in the hospital afterward. I may be a bit selfish, but I was relieved that if she had to be in the hospital, she was in the one here in MY town, instead of two hours away where she lives.
This friend is one that I've known since preschool, or what we used to call nursery school. So basically, we've been friends for nearly 30 years. She's the one that came to my house every day for lunch in high school. She put up with my horrific mood swings, my drama, my ultra annoying need to be the center of attention. She put up with my revolving-door policy on the boys I was dating. She tolerated, no. Not just tolerated. She forgave me all the times I treated her so badly. She loved me when no one else could see that I was worth anything. She didn't shut me out, even though I disappeared from her life for two and a half entire years. And when I came crawling back, she not only forgave me...she accepted my lack of reason and simply moved forward.
So when she had that heart attack, back in March, as I drove to the hospital, all I could think was, "I've just gotten her back in my life. I can't lose her now."
Needless to say I was excited to see her on Saturday.
I sent her a text message on Friday, to let her know we wouldn't be pressed for time or have to hurry or anything. She replied, "I don't know what's going on for tomorrow. I'm having trouble breathing, and am going to ER."
I told her to keep me posted, and I sat down and prayed. After she got there, and they had a chance to look her over, they put her in an ambulance and sent her back to the hospital in my town. Basically, she said, there was fluid on her lungs, and her heart wasn't working at full capacity, so it was unable to pump the fluid out. "Is that like...um...like...congestive heart...?" I stammered.
"Yeah, I think it is..." she replied.
I felt my breath catch in my throat. I felt my eyes start to fill with tears. And I thought to myself, "Damn it, don't you cry on the phone with her, you idiot." And I didn't. I hung up. And then I cried. I told her I'd be worried about coming to the hospital because I'd had this cough and sore throat for a long time...she said it was okay, they'd run tests and she'd probably go home Saturday.
So Saturday, I did something completely unlike me. I went back to my hometown and went to the winery...alone. I took the time to sit there and just, think. I just thought about the things I wanted to say. Things I needed to say. Things I'd spent my whole life wishing I'd said, and things I wished I could do.
I got a Facebook message on my phone from my friend. My phone only allows these things to come through in 140 character increments, so needless to say it can be tedious to read a long message.
The basic information was this:
"I can't text or call you, because I don't feel like I can talk about it. I saw a different doctor today. He told me my heart was still very damaged from the heart attack, and my quality of life would be subpar for the next couple of years. He was very doom and gloom and talked about a transplant..."
At that point, I didn't care what she said. I called her. She answered the phone, and didn't say much. She said this other doctor told her she'd live a subpar life, then need a transplant or a pacemaker. Apparently, he made her cry, and when he saw that, he backpedaled and said, "well, I've seen SOME people do okay with diet and exercise and go on living a fairly normal life."
Not that she would ever need to know this, but I was standing next to my car when she told me. And as she told me the story...I found myself sinking to the ground, and sitting in a ball next to my car. I said, "you know...you don't have to be strong right now. You can tell me what you need to say. You don't have to pretend that you're okay..." And she cried. In 30 years of knowing this woman, I can say I've probably seen her cry 10-15 times, tops. I told her that I was still a bit sick, but I'd go to the clinic on Sunday morning if I had to, and I'd be there to see her.
Sunday, I made it to the hospital to see her, and on the way there, I sent a text to my brother, telling him I was nervous about going to see her. I told him I had no idea what to say, or how to act, or how to pretend I wasn't terrified. He said, "Just make her laugh. Make yourself laugh. You can handle it." I told him I wasn't good at that. His exact response? "Bull crap. You are too. Now go do it."
I got there to see her, and we just...talked. We laughed. We avoided the subject at hand. We both made the most disgusting jokes possible. We made fun of the woman in the bed next to hers. We made lists of words we hate. We were 16 again. I made her snort when she laughed. She said she hadn't really laughed since the heart attack, and she'd kind of forgotten how to do it right. Leave it to me to help her get it back...
When I left the hospital Sunday, I realized something. Life is short. It can be changed in the blink of an eye. I don't have to tell her out loud that I love her. She knows. I don't have to apologize for all of the things I've done. All has been forgiven. I don't have to tell her I'm terrified of losing her again...she feels the same way. I don't have to let her know what hours of the day or night she can call. She knows I'll be here for her any one of them...
It's funny...just when you think the Karma Waitress has served you the biggest sh*tburger possible...it all ends up okay.
Hug someone today, my friends. Tell someone you love them. Let someone know they've made a difference to you. Forgive someone.
You never know how much time you've got left...