My friend fell sick.
And not only did it happen with an awful timing, she also fell for a most unlucky and uncomfortable disease. Apparently she came into contact with someone with varicella, better known as chicken pox, and now she has those blisters covering her body everywhere.
I’m writing this because this most recent happening has put our friendship into perspective. I actually invited her to come with me to the mall just the other day, with the intent of dining there and buying a new pair of footwear, on my part. I still hadn’t known about her condition. Even she herself was unaware what the symptoms meant, probably never personally knwoing anyone who’s had it before. The first time I saw her spots, I immediately thought that she could’ve contracted chicken pox. Thus I was exposed to her all throughout for two or so hours, and we even shared a serving of fries! But I wasn’t too worried at first as I had contracted the disease back in high school, and I knew that getting the disease is supposed to give you lifetime immunity against it.
But then, I asked some of my other friends and one told me that she knew someone who actually was a repeat case. Only then did I get overwhelmingly worried. Like most, I couldn’t afford to fall sick–most especially not with chicken pox. I actually have a string of exams just a week after the writing of this post! Not only will my academics get compromised, literally no one can actually take care of me. My parents are miles away (I’m in university). Probably my friends, but I would be fair and not expect them to risk themselves just to take care of me. Comforting texts and messages, perhaps. 😦
So the next day, my friend goes to the infirmary and indeed, it is chicken pox. She’s still in isolation now and in treatment in the university infirmary. And so, this is the part where I question and ponder about our friendship. She asked me to go to her dorm room and secure things she needs for her isolation, but I declined… Does this make me a bad friend? Or am I not a true friend to her at all?
The simple truth of it was: I WAS AFRAID. I researched about varicella in the internet, and indeed, I realized that immunity is not a guarantee. Chicken pox is highly contagious, and one’s developed immunity to it totally varies from person to person, as every person’s immune system varies. The virus actually stays within your system after you’ve defeated it, and can get reactivated. Or worse, you can get a case of shingles, an advanced, extremely painful form of the disease if your immune system’s really weak and vulnerable (a more frequent happenstance with the older crowd).
I texted my friend, and talked to her to make her understand. I said I also could not risk my other roommates, besides the possible risk to my self. I reminded I had no close relatives at all, as opposed to her having at least an aunt nearby (who unfortunately can visit her only on Sundays, because of work…) who I could ask help from. Anyway, her doctor has banned visitors.
Still, I tried to help my friend. I notified her dorm manager of her condition and warned that her roommates may have to take certain steps. I also asked for them to gather her much needed things to give to her. I texted our guardian who at the end of the first day of her confinement sent someone to buy her medicines. I sent messages and called. I did all I could save for one thing: see her. I keep telling myself that surely for now, I have no choice. It wouldn’t do any one good if I also fall ill. Surely, I’ve done right by her. It doesn’t stop the awful feeling though, that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not being a TRUE FRIEND at all. Especially after realizing that should the clock get rewound, I would still do what I did, and moreover choose to not have seen her in the first place at all…
Just this afternoon, it got worst. She’s run out of drinking water and asked for me to buy her some. I went to the infirmary, fully intending to just leave it to the nurse (as was both our understanding) but today’s a Saturday and the only nurse there was in charge of the ER so she couldn’t leave her post. I was given leave to go to her. But I chose to just leave her water right outside her door, and did not even knock. I texted her under the pretense of giving the water to someone to leave it right outside her door. Still, I was conscious of the possible consequences of the situation and was only trying to keep myself from getting sick.
BUT I FEEL AWFUL. I feel pity for my friend. It must be kind of lonely there, with no one but the doctors and the hospital staff for company. But I just couldn’t do anything more. Even now, I’m worried. I think I may be itching in some places. My mother through the phone tells me I could just be imaging them. But there’s naught to do, and I could only wait, and hope, and pray for myself–and for my friend.
My mother actually texted me the other day to just visit my friend and just bath and scrub myself clean afterwards. I was actually hysterical over the phone. All the search hits in the net are quite scary, they only exacerbated my tension. But perhaps because chicken pox is truly a difficult, so easily caught disease.
Pondering over my mother’s text, I could not help but wonder if she too was disappointed in me. She knows my friend, knows that we’ve been through a lot together. Besides feeling perhaps relief over her daughter being so conscious of her own well-being, could she have been disappointed in raising a child who abandoned her friend when it first, truly, really mattered?
And so now, my heart still aches; and worry still flutters in and crowds my mind. I can only pray to God that my friend heal quickly, and that I stay healthy and hale.