It’s funny how we can find some truly brilliant people in some unlikely/unexpected circumstances.
It has been 4 months since my last post and an interesting 4 months it’s been. Basically I had a bit of a health scare but fortunately I received the right care and medical attention before anything got too out of hand. Anyway, more on that later. This post is about a guy I met when my health decided to go full-on “drama queen” on me. I spent a bit of time in hospital, not exactly something I’m not used to. But this time, what is usually a lonely, isolating and often frustrating experience was very different indeed. This time I made a friend. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve made many friends during stints in hospital. It’s unfortunately the easiest way I’ve gotten to meet people I can identify with on a certain level. But I’ve never met another spinally injured person I identified so well with that I see myself in them.
For the sake of maintaining his privacy, we’ll call him Bill. It was already nice enough getting to spend time with another patient not much older than myself. But the more I got to know Bill, the more similarities I saw between us. You see, Bill hadn’t been injured long when we first met and he was facing all the recent changes in his life head on for the first time. An experience I’m all too familiar with. An experience I know can be extremely difficult. But unlike the 20 year old me, Bill did something about it. He let the world know his pain; something I wouldn’t comfortably be able to do until 3 years after my injury. Now don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t exactly giving elaborate speeches on the struggles of the spinally injured. He let loose with raw unadulterated emotion And where others heard anger, frustration and pain in his voice, I heard myself. I heard the words I had been too afraid to say myself all those years ago; and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to do something about it. I reached out a helping hand and he was kind enough to let me into his world… if only a little.
I did my best to project strength when I felt his pain; give knowledge when I sensed his confusion; show joy when I heard his anger. And I’d like to think I’m having a positive influence on this awesome human being. He seems to think I do. But one thing I doubt he has any idea about is how much of an effect he’s had on me. Through him, I’ve been able to reach deep into my subconscious and tap into emotions and memories I’ve buried and never truly come to terms with for over 6 years now. Memories of a 20 year old kid, lost and all alone in a land far from his home. And now that kid has a new perspective on life and hope that he’s going to be alright. That kid has a new friend, I have a new friend.
Bill, whenever you read this, know that I am eternally grateful; know you’ve made a friend for life; know you have a brother in me.