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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Friendship Scars - 2011 Personal Memory

I want to talk about scars for a moment.

And, what I mean by scars, I mean actual scars.  Not the evil antagonist from Disney's "The Lion King". 

How many of you have a scar?  Or how many of you have had several scars?  Do you hide them, or do you show them off with pride?

I myself boast a total of four scars...but only three of them are visible on my body.

The first one is so tiny that you can hardly see it.  But when I was a year old, I ended up with a scar next to my left eye.  How I got the scar remains debatable.  I assumed it was when our family dog tried to bite off my face, but my parents seem to think I banged it on the side of a coffee table.  Either way, the scar's there.

The second scar I got was when I was around three years old.  It's also the scar you can't see because my hair covers it.  But I fell on a playground slide and bashed my head on the bottom of it.  I don't know whether this incident triggered my fear of heights or not.

And when I was eleven - once again, on a slide - I slid down the wrong way and ended up with several pebbles embedded into my left knee.  The pebbles were removed, but I was left with four circular scars as a result of it due to the fact that I was wearing shorts at the time.

And, of most recent scar also happens to be the largest scar of all.  If you're squeamish about scars, you have my permission to stop reading this post.  But here's a picture of it.

I measured it.  It measures exactly twelve inches across.  And keeping with the theme, I received this scar five years ago in February 2011.

Now, I've talked about how I got the scar before here.  That was when my liver tried to marry my infected gall bladder, and how the doctors decided to permanently annul the union because that marriage would have resulted in my funeral. 

But I do have a moment immediately after that incident took place that has me grateful that I have the scar...and sad that I had some emotional scars that came a couple of years after said event.

So, anyway, my surgery was on February 12, 2011, and for that entire day, I was totally out of it.  Seriously, my surgery took six hours.

And the rest of the night (I came out of my surgery induced coma around 6:30 in the evening - my surgery started at 12:45), I was in a morphine induced haze with a blood transfusion hooked up to one arm, and a catheter attached...well...yeah, you don't need to know.  It was definitely the ugliest that I believe I have ever looked.

And I survived the chicken pox.

Over the next two days, I engaged in such thrilling activities as attempting to sit in a chair (and failing miserably due to the blood loss from surgery), getting three separate blood transfusions (where I learned my blood type is O!), and basically just lying around doing a whole lot of nothing.

Oh, family was able to come and visit me for a little bit.  But since I was in the Step Down unit (which was the area where once critical patients stabilized), family members were the only ones permitted to see me.  So, it made for a rather boring experience.  If I could, I would have had my Nintendo DS hooked up, but they tend to frown upon video games in the Step Down wing.

So, imagine my surprise when a non-family member came in out of the blue to see how I was doing!

I recognized him right away.  It was my co-worker, Graham.  He and I worked in the dairy department and I had known him at that time for five years.  We were really close friends, and whenever we got the chance to hang out at work, he would play cards with me in the break room, or he'd tell lots of funny jokes, or he'd just listen to me vent about things.  He never always had the right answers, but he always had time to listen.

I'll leave out the part where he tried to get me drunk at Boston Pizza.  The joke was on him though.  My alcohol tolerance level was quite high!

Anyway, I was happy to see Graham, but I had no idea how he managed to sneak into the Step Down Unit to come visit me!  I'm guessing he told the nurses that I was a relative of his or something like that...I honestly don't know.  I never did find out how he did it, but it doesn't matter now.  The fact that he took the time to come and see me when I was at my worst really meant a lot to me, and I think that was the day that really cemented our friendship. 

Two weeks later, I was released from the hospital, and it took another month before I was given the all clear to return to work.  And, over the next two and a half years, my bond with Graham strengthened, and he quickly went from becoming my good friend to my best friend at work.  I knew he would always be there for me, and I knew I was always going to be there for him.

At least, that's what I wanted to believe.

You see...Graham passed away in November 2013.  He was just one month shy of his 44th birthday.  And, I'm not going to lie...his passing broke my heart. 

My best friend was now gone.  It was bad enough that our friend and mutual co-worker Alex had died a year earlier.  To lose Graham too was just too much.  It's been two and a half years since his passing, and I still think about him every day.  And every single time, I remember how he came to the hospital to see how I was doing because he truly cared about me.

I never really had a whole lot of people in my life who really gave a stuff about me.  Graham was one of those rare people who really loved life and who really loved people.  He had so much to give to the world, and part of me thinks it is so unfair that he had such a short time on this planet.

I never had a friend like Graham before.  And now that he's gone, I fear that I may not meet a friend like him ever again.  But, I know that Graham would not want me to feel sad for him, nor would he want me to stop living the rest of my life.

I survived five years ago because I was meant to.  What that meaning is...I'm still trying to decide.  But one thing is for sure, I never forgot that day.  Because while I did end up with a huge scar across my chest...I did find out the true value of friendship...and it's absolutely priceless.


  1. Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss of Graham. Losing a loved one is rough, and, like you, I think of mine every day. Great scar by the way...I don't know about other chicks, but I dig scars on a man. :) Great blog, keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you for the kind comments! He definitely was one of a kind and I will never forget him.

    And, yeah...I'm very proud of my scar! With a scar like that, who needs a tattoo, right?