Because Friends Are Supposed To Be Like Wine (20/365)

There’s a quote that says, “Good friends, like wine, get better with age.”

I woke up Wednesday morning with a bit of pain in my throat – particularly when I swallow.  The beginnings of tonsillitis, I know.  By late in the afternoon, my fingertips had gone numb – a sure sign that I was going to have a fever.  I tried to preempt it by taking vitamins, fever medicine and painkillers – but that didn’t do me much good.  On the way home, my temperature was rising and, by the time I got to the condo, I was already having chills.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been prone to excessively high fevers – to the point that having a temperature of 39 degrees was not something I worried about anymore.  However, I made a deal with myself several years ago – that when my temperature hits 40 degrees, I would get myself to a hospital.

A little after 1:00 am, Thursday morning, my temperature hit 41 degrees.

So I found myself in the Emergency Room of Medical City at 2:00 am, looking all pinkish and dazed and confused, while Brian filled out my forms because I couldn’t do much more than sit on my wheelchair and stare off into the distance.  It was a slow night in Medical City – and that was something new to me.  In the 4 times I’ve had to rush Chris to the ER, it was always packed so the point you kind of get ignored sometimes.  So I got my blood pressure taken at the triage area (100/70, which was high for me) and soon I was being wheeled away to the area where they had beds.  Anyway, I had a really nice doctor – two, actually – and after a relatively short conversation about my symptoms, I was diagnosed with a full blown case of tonsillitis.

The good doctor had me hooked up to an IV because he said I needed to get hydrated… And this is where the fun started.  First another slightly chinese-looking doctor did the IV, assisted by this male nurse with a wispy mustache.  So they did the whole, “One, two, three, take a deep breath” thing.  The slightly chinese-looking doctor wasn’t very good at putting in IVs because even when the needle was already in my vein, he tried to wiggle it around slightly.  I had to hold on to the arm rests of the gurney to keep me from slapping him.  Then they injected me with liquid paracetamol through my IV line. Wispy-Mustache nurse did warn me it would sting… but apparently, he didn’t use enough adjectives to appropriately describe how much it would hurt.  It didn’t just sting.  It burned.  And I could feel it burning as it went in my hand.

When the pain subsided, I thought it was smooth sailing from there – the only thing remaining was the blood extraction and I’ve had that so many times it doesn’t even bother me anymore.  But it wasn’t to be so.  A couple of minutes after the paracetamol injection, the slightly chinese-looking doctor started checking my IV – and it’s one of those moments when you just know something’s gone wrong because they wouldn’t leave you alone.

My vein popped.

It was the Wispy-Mustache Nurse who eventually told me.  That, and the unbelievably bad news that the IV had to be redone. On my other hand.  At this point, I thought to myself, if the vein in my other hand popped too, where would the IV go?  On my foot?  Thankfully, it didn’t get to that – Wispy-Mustache Nurse put in my second IV and that held.  Next it was the blood extraction for my CBC.  This time it was a female nurse that was tasked to draw it.  She went through the same motions – tied my arm, found a vein and said, “Okay, one, two, three, take a deep breathe…”

Oh waw.  Imagine me, lying on a gurney, all delusional-like with fever, rolling my eyes and mouthing “take a deep breathe” because that was the most that I could do to show utter amusement and sarcasm.  A part of me wishes someone had the presence of mind to take a picture of me because that was such a moment.  Then again, a part of me is thankful that it wasn’t captured.

Brian was with me at the hospital and asked if I was angry that my best friend wasn’t there.  He did try calling Chris before bringing me to the hospital and Chris said to let him know what happens.  He then called Chris back to update him when we were in the ER.  It was, from my point of view anyway, a valid question.  Especially since I have historically dropped practically everything when it came to my best friend.  In his first six months of his career in his current company, I had to rush him to the ER four times. In fact, the last time he was rushed in, he had to be confined… So, for the very first time in my life, I slept in a little hospital couch and stayed the night.  So to be asked whether or not I was angry with non-presence of my best friend was perfectly understandable.

And my answer was… No.  I wasn’t angry.  I felt a little bad about it, yes.  I was a little disappointed, yes.  But angry?  No.  I knew him well enough to know he wasn’t going to show up at 2:00 am, ER or no ER.  That’s just the way he is.  Chris is my best friend.  He’s practically family.  I love him to bits.  But that doesn’t mean I think he’s the cat’s meow.  Because he’s just not.

Now if no one else had reacted to my being in the hospital or being sick, I don’t think I would even be writing this post.  But something did happen.  That’s the point.

I asked Brian to send Jenn a message, saying that I was in the hospital and that I said it was her fault.  It was a joke.  I knew she’d get it.  I also knew she’d get the word out.  She didn’t reply until the sun was up, which was perfectly understandable since none of us were night people anymore.  But she messaged me several times during the day and tried to call twice or thrice.  Abbie, who was also feeling like crap Wednesday afternoon, also wasn’t able to come in for work.  He also sent me a message when he found out I couldn’t make it to work. Then later on in the afternoon, I got a message from Arthur.  Something about the espasol being all gone.  I actually had enough energy to respond to that message.  When he found out I had been in the hospital, he called up.  So if when I look at it, I heard from Jenn, Abet, Arthur and Anthony (who I got to talk to when Arthur called).

Oh, Chris did send me a message.  It said, “How’s Joey?”

It doesn’t make me mad.  Honestly.  It does make me a little sad – sad that I knew him enough to not expect more than what he did.

To say good friends get better with age might not necessarily be true for all occasions, but I do have a wine-friend – Jutes.  And today, she did come through again.  Jutes and I barely see each other, which is ironic seeing that I can walk from my office to hers in less than 10 minutes.  I guess the whole day shift/night shift doesn’t help, but we make do with what we have.  We’ve always tried to set aside time for breakfast during weekdays or an afternoon out during saturdays.  Today I spent most of the morning exchanging messages with her.  Jutes and I have been friends for around 8 years now.

I am thankful for all my friends, regardless how fun, fickle or faithful they may be.  And, right now, I don’t think I could ask for a better circle.


Blessed Be…

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