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Best Friends Can Make the Best Medicine

Kristin accompanies her boyfriend to Ohio to see some of his friends. Although a sleepless night starts off her weekend on the wrong foot, she is surprised by how she feels as a result on Monday morning.

Kristin accompanies her boyfriend to Ohio to see some of his friends. Although a sleepless night starts off her weekend on the wrong foot, she is surprised by how she feels as a result on Monday morning.

I assured them that I loved to be in on the action, even if I wasn’t well enough to zip-line (this time) or focus on a game of cards (I would kick their butts next time). Sitting by myself in the bedroom was not an option!

Earlier this month my boyfriend and I traveled back to his home state, Ohio, for some rabble-rousing with his homeboys and to celebrate his friend’s recent marriage. While I expected distraction from my current load of stressors and some winter cabin fun, I had no idea what the weekend really had in store for me — a whole lot of healing of a different kind. I might have considered that the cards were stacked against me because I was hanging out with a bunch of guys who were separated from their wives, girlfriends and kids for a few days. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to imagine the mayhem that ensued on our first night in the cabin. The card games and general frivolity moved from the basement floor up to the main floor (where I slept) and back down and then back up and back down again. I counted the hours as they passed by, thinking the boys  must seriously be going to bed at 4 am, then “They must be kidding!” at 5 am and finally at 6 am, I gave up and threw all four pillows on top of my head.

 

Due to the lack of sleep, I was sent over the edge into a major flare of fibromyalgia, not to mention the sleep attacks I had to endure all weekend. I must confess that yes, I did scold my boyfriend for not thinking through the true agenda of the weekend — that in fact it would be a bachelor weekend (despite the presence of a few token women) with no room for a sick girl like me.

But as Saturday wore on, one by one the guys started checking in on me, with a quick question here and there to ask me how I was feeling and to make sure I was engaged. I assured them that I loved to be in on the action, even if I wasn’t well enough to zip-line (this time) or focus on a game of cards (I would kick their butts next time). Sitting by myself in the bedroom was not an option! Bookending the weekend were visits with one of my best friends, who hosted us at her new apartment in Cincinnati. I was looking forward to these few hours with my girlfriend on the front and back end of the trip as much as I was to the weekend cozying up in a winter-like cabin. While I expected her to shower us with generosity (“Use my shampoo!”) and host us as if her apartment was in fact our place (“I got you Diet Pepsi!”) I was surprised by how nurtured I felt as I transitioned out of that weekend and into the work week. On Monday morning, despite my sustained pain flare, I had a spring in my step, a smile on my face, and a resonance of joy in my voice that felt so authentic and familiar, so me—and yet it was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was the recognition of having been cared for that weekend by several people, other than my boyfriend, in such an easy, effortless way. It was caring and compassion that wasn’t requested — it just arrived, from people who took the time to dive deep, meet me where I was at, and allow me to rest there and heal.

 

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