Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On the subject of BFFs

In various ways. Through various gestures. They have shone.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you, my friends.

The ones who allocated some hours from busy days to travel northside, and enter that hotbed of the winter vomiting bug and influenza, to sit by my bed a while, and talk.

The many who visited me at home, who put the kettle on for themselves, and filled my evening with conversation, rather than box sets. They revived in me an appreciation for the ailing tradition of visiting each other at home, something our generation has given up on, in favour of meeting and sharing our lives in amongst crowds, in public spaces.

The ones who shopped for ingredients, and came to me, to use my kitchen as it is rarely used, to produce a home-cooked meal.

The friend and neighbour who knew I was expecting a gang in of a Friday night, and devoted an evening to bringing the whites of eggs to stiff peaks, so she could create the most beautiful pavalova for my guests to enjoy.

Those who brought me out of myself, in the initial weeks, when being mingled in amongst the community terrified me in my new state of immuno-suppression. The girls who brought me to 'Dirty Dancing', the old friend who took the trouble to bring me to the cinema - the burden of collecting me and bringing me home, and worse still, trying to ignore my crying at various scenes of 'The Descendants'.

Another, who I have lunched with regularly since college days ended, remained true to that role, preparing a meal for me in his house one day, and bringing me for lunch on another afternoon, post-hospital appointment.

The many, many, many who took the time to send me cards - and I got dozens into my post box. See?

Of those who sent these cards, several wouldn't know me if I stood in front of them. They are neighbours from the place I still call 'home', though I haven't lived there for longer than a wet week since I was 17. Their recognition of my adult face and features is irrelevant though. They know my people, and that is connection enough.

Others have sent me texts, and emails, and these too have been gratefully received, because when you are ill at ease with an unfamiliar body, and when you are in pain, it is a therapy in itself to know that someone is thinking of you.

But it is my best mates who have left me in no doubt as to the enduring value of friendships long established through good times and bad.

All old friends, because when I find a good thing, I have sense enough to hang on to it.

The fabulous, fabulous girl who took the time to put up balloons and banners, and arrange fresh flowers in my apartment in advance of my release, so that I could come home to happiness.

The same friend has hoovered for me, and cleaned my place, and brought me grocery shopping - which she compared to helping the elderly, as we walked around the aisles at retirement pace, me unable to reach most items on the higher shelves (though this is a problem that cannot be blamed on the aftermath of surgery, because it turns out, with or without a working kidney, I am, and will disappointingly remain, a midget).

She further nominated her boyfriend (who in the past two days has become her fiance - major yay!) to drive me to Beaumont Hospital every week for my tests.

There is also the best friend who collected and drove me to town to book a venue for my 30th birthday party, and further brought me on up the road, to try on the bridesmaid dress I will wear for her wedding in five months' time, thus reminding my spine of what it is to wear a high heel, and taking me out of the uniform of the patient for a few minutes.

She, along with another best friend, gave my life a massive material boost with their purchase of a Nespresso machine as a gift for me. After months of being restricted to one half cup of weak coffee per day...well, the kidney brought me one type of heaven, this lovely coffee has brought me Nirvana.

One friend of more than a decade now did my lungs the wonderful favour of a spin way up high in the mountains, to fill my reborn body with the freshest air that Dublin has to offer.

Another best friend has stayed with me on various nights, particularly in the early days, just after my mother had gone back west, when my kidney was still a little scared of the dark.

And a best friend, who is way across the other side of the world, has sent flowers, and has gotten up extra early, to court the time difference that makes chatting difficult, and put a call through to me to see how I'm getting on.

There is, of course, a new friend now also, one who calls me after each of her clinic appointments, and whom I call after each of mine, to compare how our brother kidneys are getting on.

They say that friends are the family we choose for ourselves.

On this count, I am blessed.


  1. you have got to stop writing posts that make me cry. My colleagues think I'm nuts!

    So glad things are going well.

    1. It's all about the happy tears these days! But yes, crying in public can lead to all sorts of awkwardness in a work environment :-)

  2. Can't wait for this party of yours. Will I sing?

    I don't think you want me to sing.

    1. Radge, you may sing all you want at the party. But only if you take requests. I'd like to hear your version of 'La Bamba'.

  3. What amazing friends you have! But good friendships don't appear from nowhere, so you must be a good friend yourself to have developed these friendships.

  4. Jo, I hope I am half as good a friend to all mentioned above. They really were my salvation in those first shaky weeks. I hope you are well x