Monday, January 25, 2010

Nashville-Bound, and the Story of April and Elisa :)

After four days of work in a row (for the second week in a row), I need a break. So I'm going to Nashville to see my best friend!!

This is Elissa:

She's my kindred spirit. Our souls are connected. We will be friends until we die.

And we live three hours apart. It's sad :(

I met her in the spring of junior year in college. She was really sick with Lyme Disease (which is worthy of a post of its own), and was on TPN. (Which is basically the IV version of food. She couldn't eat, so she had a central line - an IV placed in a major vein in her chest - to get nutrients through.) I was in nursing school, and being my nerdy self, I recognized it immediately, and thanks to my lack of filter, said something along the lines of "OMG you're on TPN!! That's so cool!!" Very rude of me.

Somehow, it was Lissa's favorite reaction to her line/TPN, and it made her laugh. Later in the spring, she came to a get-together I had while I was house-sitting for these people, and we realized that I had a place to live for the summer, but needed a roommate to share the cost, and that she needed a place to live. So, there it was: we became roommates.

I am not of the belief that every person you ever meet in your lifetime is there because of divine intervention. But I do believe that God knows when you need someone, and intentionally places some people in our lives for a specific purpose. Elissa and I needed each other, specifically. The fact that we are such good friends is a total "God thing," to use a corny Christian euphemism. She needed a friend - but one who could both look past her sickness/central line and all that came with it/inability to eat normally and see HER, but also understand all that stuff and be there if she needed help. My best friend from college (who I lived with during the school year 2 years in a row) was away in the Philippines, and I was lonely, and struggling with my decision to be a nurse or not. I'd just come out of a horrible semester with a really nasty clinical instructor who had shaken my confidence to its core.

So we moved into a really awesome townhouse together, and our mommies met each other (I still LOVE her mommy and her whole family) and we started to get to know each other. Within a week, that was it. You've heard of love at first sight - this was something sort of like it. I can't explain it - it was like her soul literally intertwined with mine. We stayed up late (too late) talking, looking at pictures, just sharing with each other. We ate breakfast together sitting on our kitchen counters. We went and looked at ribbon at the ribbon store. She made organic chemistry flowsheets, and I laughed at her. I changed her central line dressings a couple of times, and she encouraged me that I really would be a good nurse.

That summer, she became septic from a line infection, and was hospitalized. Her best friend from when she was at UGA came to visit, and we all stayed in the hospital with her for HOURS. She says those are her favorite memories from that summer - there was just something about those few days. I held her hand while the crazy doctor pulled her line, because Melissa couldn't watch. All three of us curled up in her hospital bed (becoming a little drawer of spoons) and watched House episodes on her laptop. I brought her baby food to eat when she didn't have a line, and the nurses at the hospital didn't understand that hospital food just wouldn't work for her. She came home, got a PICC, hated the PICC, got a new line, hated the new line (because of the stupid doctor who put it in), and we finished out our summer.

The next school year we didn't really lose touch, but we weren't living together anymore since my roommate came back from the Philippines. We still got to see each other, and still made our normal Panera trips. I got engaged in December, and asked her to be one of my bridesmaids. By that June, when I was getting married, she was eating well enough to have her line pulled, so she could wear her strapless bridesmaid dress without a big dressing showing in pictures. Then, that summer, came the official Lyme diagnosis and with that a bunch of antibiotics. The thing I most regret about that time, when she was getting better, is that I wasn't there to see it. It was nearly a year before I got to see her again - I was busy working, she was busy healing - and I went to see her in Florence at her house, and suddenly she was better. She could eat. She could walk longer distances than I had ever seen. She had stamina. She had energy.

This is my best friend eating Tiramisu with me at a restaurant. I nearly cried, right there at the table. I never, ever thought I would see that.

Fast forward a few months, and she ran a 10K. More tears of joy.

And here we are, now. I get to see her anytime I want. I get to eat meals with her. She is healthy. She has a full-time job. She still has fatigue, and still takes meds for that, but the last time I was with her, we cleaned out her old clothes that she wore when she was sick and too thin, and we cleared away all the medications that she took. It was hard for her. I'm glad I was with her for that.

And I get to see her today!! Oh, how I wish that she lived closer to me. I miss her. I'm so glad she's well.

To quote my mom's facebook status this morning: I'm so glad God let us have friends :)

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, April. What an incredible friendship. I am so happy to hear your friend is doing so much better!! I have an uncle-in-law with Lyme disease and he's really been struggling, and this totally gives me hope.

    Also, it totally does sound like a God-thing that you guys were brought together when you were--you've learned so much from each other/ministered to each other so much!