Yesterday was an informative, eye-opening, humbling kind of day.
I've mentioned my old friend and "big brother" Andrew a couple other times on this blog (here
). I don't think I've ever really said how close we were, how much I cared for him. For a few years, he was one of my closest friends. We talked about all kinds of stuff. He even told me once that I was one of the few people that he could talk to about anything because he knew that he could trust me that much. It broke my heart when he went away to college. Of course, this was back in the day when email didn't exist and long-distance phone calls were still pretty expensive. A month or two after he left for school, I received a letter from Andrew stating that he needed to talk to me so badly about something, but that I was nine hours away and if he wrote it in a letter, by the time I got the letter and wrote back, it wouldn't matter anyway. I bawled when I got that letter. It killed me that I couldn't be there for him when he needed me.
Anyway, as life went on and we spent more time apart because of living in different places, we grew apart and lost touch. My senior year of high school, he'd gotten his girlfriend pregnant (he was in his early 20's by that time) so they got married. As previously mentioned, his first wife died several years ago from cancer and he's now remarried to a woman who also lost her first husband to cancer. I'd only spent a wee bit of time with Andrew and his second wife, a few years ago when I was in town for a visit. I didn't feel that connection with Andrew like I used to feel, which is not surprising.
Being around him again now - because he and his family still go to the same church as Mom - I was kind of feeling it. Not like it's a sexual thing, but just... like there's something more than superficial stuff. It really got me to wondering why nothing more than friendship ever happened between us. As a teenager, I definitely would've gone out with him if he asked, but he never did. To this day, I don't quite understand it. It would be easy for me think that he just didn't feel "that way" about me, any maybe that's the case. But there was a summer that he was home between his one year of college and joining the Marines. He and I were alone in his car together, going somewhere, and he put a song on and said, "This song is about you." It was a popular country song at the time called "She Don't Know She's Beautiful" by Sammy Kershaw. Once I figured out what song it was, I said, "This isn't about me." Andrew replied, "Yes it is. So shut up." So... you can see how I'd be left wondering a little, right?
Anyway, back to present day: being around him again was making me wonder (again) why things never worked out between us. I mean, not only did he never ask me out when we were young, but he also never contacted me after his first wife died. It's really left me wondering what could've been, you know?
Yesterday, I got my answer.
I spent the afternoon with Andrew's current wife, Kristy. She moved here a few years ago, when they got married, but she still doesn't have a lot of friends in the area. Obviously, I don't plan to be here permanently, but I'd told her that could get together while I'm around. We had lunch and then just hung out and talked for a couple more hours. I learned a LOT about what it's really like in their household right now and it seriously blew my mind. I don't know how Kristy has not lost her mind. Both of Andrew's kids have some problems, but his daughter is seriously messed up. As in, she's 14, still wets the bed every night, and doesn't even care!! Andrew doesn't seem to get that involved, so it's mainly on Kristy to deal with it. There's more to the story, of course, but it really made me realize that I would NOT want to trade places with her. Maybe Andrew and I had a great connection back in the day, and maybe things would've been different if it were me instead of his first wife. But those are big maybes, and I feel quite certain that had I married Andrew after his first wife died, I would've been miserable. I feel like learning everything that I did yesterday has put the whole issue to rest without me losing my friendship with either one of them. I got the answer that I needed, which was simply that God was protecting me from what likely would've been even more misery than my marriage with XM was.
When I came back to the States from Edmonton, I tried to stock up on my insulin and stuff as much as I could, but I'm nearly out of insulin now and, of course, I need a prescription to get more. There's a health clinic in town here that offers an open, free clinic one night a week. The nurses and doctors that work that one night volunteer their time, which is so great of them. I really didn't want to have to pay to see a doctor just to get prescriptions, and there's a couple doctors that go to church with Mom and know me pretty well, so I thought about just asking them, but I didn't know if it would put them in an awkward situation. So Mom suggested going to this clinic. She has a friend that works there during the regular hours, so she emailed this woman to ask about it. The friend said that I'd have to come to the free clinic, not during the regular hours, and to bring my meds and something that has my name and Ohio address on it. I'm also supposed to bring a copy of my last tax filing, presumably to prove that I live in this county or maybe about my income, but since my last tax filing was in Canada, she said not to worry about it. She said she would take care of all of it, although she did tell us to get there early because if you're not there soon enough, you won't get in.
So we got there at 5 PM yesterday even though the free clinic doesn't actually start until 5:30. There were also a number of other people there. I got the forms and started filling those out. It was crowded and this a rough looking crowd, not like they're violent, but rather... dirty, tired, sick, poor, and in a couple cases, smelly.
When Mom and I parked outside, she didn't see her friend's car and we didn't see her inside, which was making me a little nervous. So after I finished completing all the forms and took them up to the desk, I asked if the woman was there. The lady behind the desk said that she wasn't, but that she'd told them all about me. Whew! She told that they'd be with me in just a few minutes, and I was either the first or second person called back. The nurse came in to take care of all the basics (blood pressure, etc.) then the CNP (certified nurse practitioner, I'm guessing) came in. She was an older German Baptist woman, which surprised me because while there are a lot of German Baptists in this area, I'd never seen any in the medical profession before. She asked me some questions about what I take, how much, and so on. Mom had told me that this free clinic actually gives away medications to those who need it, but I didn't think that would include insulin because the drug companies never give bottles of insulin away as samples, as they do with so many other drugs. I'd gotten free samples from my one of my own doctors before, so I knew that was the case for some meds. But I was wrong. I don't know if they work with different drug companies, or if they're able to buy certain medications with their funding or what, but they actually had insulin there on hand. I take two different kinds of insulin; they gave me several bottles of one kind because apparently they had a bunch on hand, and they gave me about a month's supply of the other kind and said to call when I needed more. I was really surprised and so, so happy and relieved!! Insulin is not cheap and I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for it, half knowing that Mom would probably do so, but feeling bad that she would need to. (I think I'm going to start looking for temp work to do here while I still look for something permanent in KY.) I'm so thrilled that I was able to get free insulin to last me for a while.
It was humbling to go to that clinic, but not in a bad way. It was humbling to realize that the nurses were so happy with my diabetic control because usually there they're only seeing people who have bad control. It was humbling that I've always been able to get my medications for myself until now. It was humbling to overhear the woman telling someone else that she wasn't running the little air conditioning unit in her home because she was out of work and didn't want to use the added electricity. The experience left me feeling really grateful - for the state of my life, for Mom's friend that helped me, for living in a town and county that has something like this available, for everything. I am so fortunate.
Labels: Diabetes, Friends, Health, Mom