Because of SMA, I have met people that I might never have crossed paths with otherwise. I’m blessed with the opportunity to connect with nurses, physicians, equipment providers, and other SMA families.
I love all of these unique connections, but I especially cherish my relationship with my best friend, Kim. We are cousins by marriage, but we didn’t meet in person until she started as one of my home health nurses. Kim helped with my medical care, including breathing treatments, range of motion exercises, and feeding and medication administration through my feeding tube. She also helped with daily tasks, such as brushing my teeth, getting dressed, dishes, and laundry.
Kim provided for my needs as a medical professional, but she treated me like any other young woman. Her role as my caregiver never stopped her from seeing me as an equal.
I can’t pinpoint the moment that sparked our close friendship, but after a short time, our bond was undeniable. My daily medical routines, while long, provided plenty of one-on-one time for our friendship to grow. We became so close that we texted almost every day — even when we had seen each other a couple of hours earlier.
We share many fond memories, such as listening to Disney music while Kim washed my hair, working as a team to make Christmas presents with unnecessary help from my cat, and chatting during my breathing treatments.
A few years ago, Kim and her family moved to another state for her husband’s work. We were disappointed that we wouldn’t see each other as often, but we were determined to continue investing in our friendship. We texted as frequently as possible, and still do almost three years later. Sometimes Kim’s youngest daughter joins our conversations and floods my inbox with emojis from “Trolls,” which always makes me smile.
Kim and I enjoy coloring books designed for adults. When we can fit it into our schedules (which isn’t as often as we would like), we video chat and color. It sounds simple, but it feels good to have a face-to-face discussion while doing something we both love. While coloring and chatting together we don’t feel so far apart.
But nothing beats seeing my best friend in person.
Seeing Kim at Christmastime was a wonderful and unexpected surprise. We don’t keep secrets from each other, but somehow, Kim kept her visit a secret from everyone but my mom. She surprised me by standing in my living room with a bow on her head. I’m pretty sure I went into shock for a few seconds. I heard her voice from behind me and momentarily questioned my sanity. I was ecstatic when I spun around and saw her.
Kim couldn’t stay for long. I wasn’t the only person hoping to spend time with her. But we had enough time to eat lunch at a new Mexican place, exchange Christmas gifts, and catch up on each other’s lives. It was exactly what I needed, and the best Christmas gift Kim could have given me.
Friends like Kim are few and far between. We make each other better. We make each other smile and laugh. We support each other when things get tough, and we celebrate when life is good. We can count on each other through every adventure and curveball.
Even though we live in different parts of the world, distance has never gotten in the way of our bond. I’m incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful friend in my life.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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