“She could have died,” was all I could think while I had lunch with my friend today. I’ve know Cranium since high school and she’s one of, if not the, oldest friend I have.
I got a text from her just before Christmas time letting me know that she was going on stress leave. I thought that was weird because she’s the only person I know that loves her job. She works with kids and I know she applied to do a master’s in early childhood education. She’s always talked about having kids, loves working with them, and often I go to her for parenting advice.
To make a long story short, she helped get a supervisor demoted, and 6 months later, that woman was given back the supervisory positon and now had an ax to grind with my friend. They had a meeting where she nitpicked a thousand little things that my friend was doing wrong. A few days later, the woman sent a pretty nasty email that ended with Cranium having an epic anxiety attack that she was hospitalized for. Blue lips, numb fingers, the works. The doctor told her she shouldn’t go back to work for a while and prescribed her an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. I guess the supervisor woman felt bad, because she kept emailing Cranium, trying to provide a better or alternate arrangement. Cranium finally had to tell her to leave her alone because she actually has an anxiety disorder and doesn’t want to be stressed off while she’s on leave. When she told me this part, I wanted to go and smack whoever put this woman back in charge of being Cranium’s supervisor. Holy conflict of interest!
Fast forward a couple of weeks. Cranium had been doing some research and decided to go to the gym to get some exercise to alleviate the depression with endorphins. She went to a spinning class and said all was well until right after the class ended, and she got hit with what they call a thunderclap headache. She told me on a scale of 1-10, 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst, she was sitting at a 25. They checked her out at the gym and told her that if the headache persists longer than an hour she should go see a doctor.
What does she do?
Goes home to bed. When she woke up the next morning, she still had the headache. She called the hospital and they told her the wait would be 8-10 hours, so she went to the walk-in clinic. The doctor took one look in her eye and told her she should have had a CT scan 12 hours ago. He told her to take a cab to the hospital. She told him she would take the bus, and he told her she could take the cab or he would call the ambulance.
At the hospital they did a bunch of tests on her and it turns out she had a really small hemorrhage in the middle of her brain. (She told me the technical name for what it was, but I’ll be damned if I can remember.) They also transferred her to a different hospital that had better neurological equipment. They told her the doctor at the clinic probably saved her life.
I actually got a little weepy at the table while she was telling me this story. This is a girl I’ve known since high school, who is absolutely insane for Backstreet Boys, who is vivacious and outgoing and introduced me to the best veggie lasagna I’ve ever eaten. She took me to a Tragically Hip concert because she won tickets and didn’t know anyone else who would want to go. We sat there, drinking beer and I said, “so this is a real concert.”
“Yeah, I’ve never been to a concert that wasn’t Backstreet Boys. It’s weird not to see thousands of screaming girls.”
I almost choked on my beer.
“This is your first real concert? I’m so happy that I’m the one you chose to go with!”
We’ve seen each other through a lot of tough times and mostly a lot of really great times, and I kept having flashes of the great times we’ve had together while she was telling me her story, and how I don’t know what I’d do if I lost her. What would her boyfriend do? I introduced them and I’ve known him since grade school. What would any of us do if she was gone? I hoped she wouldn’t notice my eyes welling up, and just kept sniffling to hide the fact that I would be devastated if I lost her. That potentially, I almost did lose her.
There was a hint of paranoia today, after I dropped her off at the mall. I had texted her and she didn’t respond right away and that tiny little voice in my head was whispering, “you overtired her by taking her back to mom’s place, and now she’s probably unconscious on the floor of the mall surrounded by strangers who have no idea that her brain exploded.”
I’m not going to lie, when I got her text I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
This might sound selfish of me, going on about what I would do without her, considering we don’t see each as often as we probably could, but she’s always been there. I can always text her, call her, facebook her, whatever. She’s there. We talk, we pick up where we left off the last time. She asks about the kids, exclaims that she still can’t believe that I have 3 kids. I ask about her boyfriend (soon to be husband), sometimes we talk about sex, sometimes we keep it civil. Sometimes we’re catty, sometimes we reminisce. She gets me, and never fails to let me know when I’m out of line, but she’s always respectful. She’s an amazing person and I love her dearly. It nearly broke my heart to think that she almost died. That she possibly still might.
She’s on ridiculously expensive medication to prevent her brain from spasming, (it spasms to try and get the blood off the brain) that she has to take ever 4 hours.
Before I let myself carried away though, I know I need to relax and not stress about it. She’s alive and for the most part she’s well. We talked about hanging out next week and I hope we both follow through. I think I might invite her for dinner. Anyway, being with her reminded me of how much I missed her and since she’s off, we should definitely spend some time together.
We finished up the day driving back to my mom’s place to pick up my son and on the way we talked about “kids these days.” It’s so funny because we used to be those kids!
I had a really great afternoon with Cranium, even though a small part of me thought I may have killed her.
This is a picture of the lunch that we both had today. Paleo and so awesome, perhaps too much dressing, but it was so delicious! I don’t normally post pics, but look at how epic this salad is!