Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's not the sort of phone call you expect to receive. At least, not in your 20s.

"Um, hi, yeah. I don't know much but I wanted to let you know. I'm on my way. [Friend] is in the hospital. She collapsed on the way to work and they're saying she had a stroke."

Admittedly not the most sensitive response, but what would you have said if you'd just been told that your close friend, just turned 30, had a fucking stroke?

"I don't know! I'm on my way now. She's at [Hospital] on [Street] and [Avenue]."

"[Street] and [Avenue]? I'm on my way."

This was Tuesday afternoon. The last four days have been completely surreal as I shuttle back and forth between my not-even-remotely-unpacked apartment and a hospital waiting room that is becoming unpleasantly familiar, trying repeatedly to stop my thoughts from going to the dark place to which they instinctively gravitate.

I've always worried about people dying--even when I have no reason to worry. Any time the phone rings at an odd hour, I immediately panic. And now? When the closest friend I have in this city has had a stroke, has already undergone one risky brain surgery and is going to need another before the problem--which there was no way of finding until something like this happened--is resolved?

I'm just sort of numb.

I haven't cried much. A little on that first day, before we knew anything, sitting in the waiting room with her best friend and her boyfriend. I very nearly lost it Thursday night in Carnegie Hall when the guy holding the concert sang a couple of very sad songs. But mostly I just feel a creeping sense of numbness and disbelief. I run errands, I cook food for the family and friends sitting at the hospital, I send text messages to update other concerned friends, and when I don't feel that I'm taking time away from people who deserve it more than I do, I pop in for a few minutes to see her, talk to her, make jokes and bask in a sense of relief when I realize that my friend is still in there. And through it all I try to think as little as possible.

She'll be okay.

She'll be okay because she has to be okay. There simply is no other option.

So I'm back, in a sense. I have internet access once more, but please forgive me if I'm a bit absent for awhile. I've really only got one thing to think about, but like I said, I'm trying not to think.

Any of you believers out there, send your prayers toward New York City over the next couple of weeks, okay?


Bridget said...

Sending love and prayers your way.

It WILL be okay. :)

Anonymous said...

I have people who believe praying, and people who don't believe asking people who do believe to pray. I can't wait till she's out of the hospital. We're spoiling her then.

Text me if you need me - you know where I am. *hugs*

And yeah. Fucking scary as all hell.

wegrit said...

I hope your friend gets better soon.

And Christ, a stroke at 30? That's insane!

Hope said...

I'm thinking of you and your friend! Positive, positive thoughts all the way to New York..

Lily said...

prayers sent, lady. hang in there.

Erin said...

Sending positive vibes your way ... if it helps, my brother had surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain a few years ago, and he's totally fine. I'm sure your friend will be too. We're all crossing our fingers for you and her.

Kass said...

My ex sister in law had 2 strokes around the age of 22. By all accounts shes okay (well, a bit strange but okay!)

I hope you friend is okay too!

Princess Pointful said...

I'm so sorry to hear the awful, heavy news. She's lucky to have a good friend like you. said...

Holy shit. I hope it all works out.