Two years ago, I lost my friend to this disease.
It didn’t kill her directly — it killed her indirectly, in bits and pieces, day by day, night by sleepless night, as it stole her identity, her pride, her independence, her joy.
It took and took until there was nothing left of the woman everyone knew as vivacious, outspoken and fun. Once in a while there were flashes of her old self, but more often than not, she was just “not there.”
She spent her days reading, sleeping, watching tv, shifting her position on the foam cushion that covered the couch. Medicine bottles lined up on the coffee table, in the medicine cabinet, next to her bed. Nothing really worked, but sometimes it would take the edge off long enough to get through the next hour, and then the next, and then the next after that.
We talked on the phone at least every other day, one of us calling the other to ask, “How are you? How is the pain?”
Sometimes we shared light stuff — funny incidents with our pets, our husbands, something we’d read. We’d talk about our latest doctor appointments, the next thing we were trying, what was new on the IC forums or the PNE front. We’d usually discuss the latest appointment, and which of our doctors were being assholes, because there were always assholes. And then we’d talk about the deep stuff: how were we ever going to ever get out of this pain, were we ever going to get our lives back, be able to go places, to the movies, a restaurant, travel to see our kids. Were we ever going to be able to take a long walk, sit without pain, have sex.
Four days before she died we talked about the “s” word. How some mornings we just didn’t want to face it again. Another day. More hours of pain and pills. More isolation. More loss. When our animals were suffering, we took them to the vet and they were quietly put to sleep. Why couldn’t we have the same privilege? We were suffering. We just wanted to be done.
I had no idea this was the last time I would talk to my friend. I miss her.