There is a phenomenon that I am just now becoming familiar with. I have never had to deal with it in my life until now, and to say the least, it’s upsetting. Losing friends when you get sick.
About a year and a half ago I had to go back on dialysis, this wasn’t going to be a short term thing like last time, I really had to commit to it, which meant adhering to a diet and a lifestyle that limited my socializing, at least the kind of socializing I had become accustomed to.
I had a group of friend’s I could rely on for every Friday and Saturday night festivities. No matter what, there was something to do. Maybe I was wrong in using this as a coping mechanism. I could go with them on adventures and forget, if not just for a bit, that I was sick. I could rely on them for taking my mind off my problem’s, and therapeutic merriment. I needed them. I needed the break from my reality. I enjoyed them.
Then I got really sick and I haven’t heard from one of them since.
You see, this type of friend can be relied upon to help you move, to buy the pizza on weeks you are short, or even buy the beer to cover you, but they are not the kind of friend that can be relied upon for emotional support.
Now, I know it may seem like I am admonishing this sort of friend, I am not doing this in the slightest; I’m just coming to the realization of when and where you can rely on them. I made the mistake of thinking they were long term friends. Friends that you would watch get married, friends that you would watch have children that would call you aunt or uncle. Apparently this is not the case when you get sick. This friend will not be there.
This has made me very sad. I had thought I was close enough to be invited to be a part of the weddings, but when you get sick, you are not. I then thought at least I would be invited to the wedding showers and bachelorette parties, but when you get sick, you are not. I then thought at least I would get an invitation to these weddings, but when you get sick, you do not.
I have been told that I push people away, because when asked what they can do to help I say “nothing,” and apparently this is not acceptable. What do you want to do for me exactly, I’m sick, and I don’t feel well, what would you like for me to let you do? Do you want to take naps with me? Do you want to go to the hundreds of doctors appointments with me? I don’t even want to be there…why would you?
Getting sick has been less of a blow to my morale. Losing friends that I thought cared has shattered me to the core. I’m sorry I have passed on dinner plans on days I spent puking. It doesn’t mean I want you to stop asking. I’m sorry I can’t drink 12 beers with you, but I sure would like to be invited out for one. I’m sorry I didn’t answer the phone the last time you called to update me on gossip, it doesn’t mean you can’t leave a message and I’ll call you back when I feel better.
I’m sorry I am sick and that has imposed on our relationship.
Trust me, I am sorry that I am sick.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.