When I was discharged from Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in October 2017, a million questions and uncertainties raced through my mind: How long am I going to be in outpatient therapy? Will I be able to do everything I used to do? Will I be able to go back to work? When am I ever going to see my friends? This last question was important to me because, after living independently in Philly for four years, I was afraid that moving back home to the suburbs with my parents would isolate me from all of my friends. I thought everyone’s lives would move on without me. But now, after over a year of being home, I’m happy to say that hasn’t happened.
The Friday before Thanksgiving, my old roommate Brigid, who now lives in West Philly, hosted a ‘Friendsgiving.’ She lives on the second floor of one of those ancient duplexes with stairs leading up to the front door and then two flights of (very narrow) stairs leading up to her apartment. Needless to say, I was a little worried it might not work out. Luckily, I underestimated my friends’ strength and they hoisted me up the stairs Cleopatra-style while barely breaking a sweat. Phew, crisis averted.
Maybe it was Olivia’s tasty Thanksgiving cocktail — or seeing some college pals I hadn’t seen in a while, or the start to the holiday season — that got me feeling sappy on the way home … but I started reflecting on how thankful I am for my wonderful friends, hence this little friend appreciation post.
Let me rewind a little bit, back to when my whole journey was just beginning. Brigid is the person who got me to the ER in a Lyft and stayed with me until my mom arrived when I first realized something was wrong. Thank God she was home or this whole situation could’ve been worse. While I was hospitalized for three months, I had a slew of friends and family come visit me almost every day. They brought me goodies, filled me in on everything that was happening in our friend group, helped make my 23rd birthday unforgettable, and brightened my days when I was feeling down. My lifelong friend Alex even spent the night!
Like I said, I was so afraid that once I was back home in West Chester I’d never see my friends. Out of sight, out of mind. You know? But friends ventured out in groups to visit me on the weekends when I wasn’t quite ready to go out and about yet. Of course, I provided yummy snacks to make the drive worth it. After a couple of months, I was ready to get back out into the community. Now, whenever I’m up for it, my friends are game to meet up for brunch, a movie, a wine tasting, shopping, or a FaceTime date. One of the main reasons I haven’t lost touch with my friends is because of my awesome chauffeur — my mom. But some of my friends have been brave enough to learn to drive the big, red rig (wheelchair van) too.
When I’m hanging out with friends, it feels just like old times. I still get FOMO when I’m scrolling through Snapchat and see my friends going out on a Friday night without me, but I’ve learned to deal with it. I know they wish I could be there. And I know I’ll be back there someday.
So if you’re reading this, thanks a million! Your friendship means more to me than you’ll ever know. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. This year, my family and I trekked up to Massachusetts and Rhode Island to visit family and friends we haven’t seen in a while. To say I’m thankful for my friends and family is an understatement — and this past year has truly shown me how blessed I am.