When Friendship Fails and Faith Prevails

A year ago, my BFF (early 30s) moved in to start a new life in Maryland. Well, actually– she was kicked out of her friend’s grandmother’s house in Texas, had exhausted her resources there, and had nowhere to go nor resources besides her car, so we wired her some money and begged the supposed friend to drive with her from the Houston area to our house and then flew him home the next day. This should was the first indicator of the chaos to come, and yet I foolishly overlooked it.

We had planned for her to move in previously, yes– but the manner in which it came about speaks volumes. First, her eviction. Then began the frantic phone calls before the drive about being unable to see while driving at night (“partial night blindness”) and she was terrified to drive that far alone, hence why I ended up begging her “friend” to travel with her. Then she had no idea how to get to my house let alone how to read a map. It was getting more and more ridiculous and she hadn’t even left Texas yet! It was as though she didn’t know how to adult. Why was I adulting for her several states away? I’ve never had to adult for her before.

When she arrived, I hardly recognized her. Her thyroid was swollen to the size of a bow tie and it had done a number on her physically, as Graves Disease will do, if left untreated. Her eyes protruded like golf balls, she was as gaunt as a meth addict, and shaking just as badly. Being hypothyroid myself and having done a lot of research on it, I knew right away. My confident diagnosis ended up saving her life. Unbeknownst to me, she had been avidly avoiding doctors because she had developed some sort of crazy conspiracy belief about them all out to get her. She would only seek help regarding “the bow tie” after someone she immensely trusted told her *exactly what was wrong with her* beforehand so she wouldn’t be swindled. Had I not said, “Guuuurl, we gotta get that thyroid under control!”, read the symptoms out loud, and then show her my itty bitty Synthroid pill to prove it was non-horselike, she wouldn’t even have gone to the free clinic down the street (she looked up “thyroid cancer” and freaked out… Did I say cancer? No. Hyperthyroidism amps up anxiety, knucklehead!).

In a previous post, I wrote about that experience with her. No need to repeat it here. Suffice to say, it was an ordeal.

Three months later, we caught her attempting to swindle a couple thousand dollars out of a really nice guy and then while I was on the phone with him, she lied and called him a pedophile. Whoops. No more money for her. Then she left for Florida, or so I’ve heard from her family. We haven’t spoken since. Not for lack of trying on my part, mind you. No wait, I did get an email a month or two ago telling me what a bad Christian I am. That was a lovely sentiment to receive.

Between Labor Day weekend in September and the weekend before Christmas of 2014 were the most chaotic and tumultuous time of my life. During that time:

  • I nursed this BFF back from death’s door only for her to flee when it was time to quit smoking, per our agreement. We bought her the Blu vapor kit thingy, Nicorette Gum, the whole nine yards. Nope. This was the only requirement of living with us rent-free, and we kept extending it since she “couldn’t find a job.” Finally, as of Christmas week, “Friend, we still know you’re smoking, our deal had been extended long enough. Rent is now $25 a week.” If she can afford to smoke, she can afford $25 a week.
  • I watched my BFF throw temper tantrums over mundane things… Really, you’re throwing a fit because you want your first Renn Faire to be perfect so you’re not going? Okay, so don’t go. Green bean casserole? You’re really upset over green bean casserole? Hun, hubs is allergic to mushrooms and I’m lactose intolerant. If you wanna make one, go right ahead, just understand that it’s only for you.
  • I witnessed her falling apart because she honestly thought I was still 18 and hyper because that’s the way she sees herself. No, sorry BFF, since my brain cooties have been properly diagnosed and treated, this means I’m happy and level. This also means I don’t pray for death nightly anymore, nor struggle for my identity, so you know, win-win for me! 
  • Hubs and I both attempted to make efforts with her resume. It was in Gothic font 8 and lacked her phone number, address, and email (note: not exaggerating). If an employer did want to get in touch with her, it required the use of telekinesis. When I got through with reformatting and wordsmithing, it was a thing of beauty. Getting her to apply to places was weird– she was oddly biased against JC Penny’s (it was “beneath” her) but fine with other stores. That was the other thing, getting her to dress her age. Hiphuggers and belly shirts are not en vogue anymore nor age appropriate, especially over 30, sorry kid. Goodwill had great stuff to include a really nice periwinkle button down fitted shirt from Talbots with the tags still on it. Totally lucked out. It was weird– once she saw me dressed in work attire, it really took her aback like, “Whoa. Fara, you’re a big girl now! I guess I’m a big girl too.” She honestly never grew up.
  • In the three months she was with us, I can think of five guys she met up with, the last of which she was incredibly angry because we got along with him so well. Because if there’s one thing that bad, it’s when your friends like your other friends, clearly.

But in the midst of all the temper tantrums and breakdowns, God was there and He was working.

  • BFF had to show up suddenly like she did for me to recognize her ailment because later that day I ended up meeting a doctor at a luncheon who knew all about the free clinics in the area. If she hadn’t had shown up that morning, I would have missed that “Divine Appointment” with that luncheon doctor. Had I not been hypothyroid, same thing. BFF needed a big sister type to look out for her during this time to make sure she was taking her meds and drinking her water and I was blessed at the time with a job that allowed me to work from home.

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Fruit Loops & Life Groups

I had an epiphany this morning how fitting in a church can be like my Tupperware Cereal Keeper: as with quality products, putting the lid on takes effort, but if done right, contents are secure for at least two years.

It started out normal enough: this morning, I finished off my Fruit Loops and wanted to fill the container with Special K with Red Berries. Simple, right? Not so much. No matter how much I tried, the stupid cereal lid would not fit from the back to front! It was 2mm too short! I knew it was the right lid, so I tried turning it around. As soon as I approached it from a different angle, it fit perfectly and the “shortcomings” disappeared! Now I can flip this container around and I know it won’t make a mess anywhere because I have such faith in Tupperware.

What saddens me is how many people throughout my great church adventure have said, “this is a great church, but you are the first person to make a genuine interest to know me.” They go on to express how alone they felt prior to my introduction, but when I inquire if they were part of a small group, they immediately start stammering about being too busy, or they meant to, or something else. All they needed to do was make a little effort and change their approach. Why are people afraid to make an effort? The Lord will bless them for stepping out on faith.

That’s the point of Life Groups or small groups– to learn, live, and grow together; it brings people together with similar interests to build a church community. Once you start building relationships, the “shortcomings” easily disappear, and that church can help keep the contents of your heart secure– no matter how much your own life gets flipped around– for at least two years because of your continued faith in God and strength within your church community. And just like the Tupperware Cereal Keeper, it may be time to pour yourself out and try something new, perhaps even healthier, just as I did this morning when I finished off my Fruit Loops and began my Special K with Red Berries. Just a thought.

Frustrated with Friends

For the first time in my life, I’m at a loss. A complete loss. Earlier this evening, my BFF was in the ER being treated for her extremely high heart beat and hyperthyroidism and they wanted to admit her overnight for observation. She refused. Flat out refused. The doctor was very calmly and rationally explaining to her that she was at risk and he was highly concerned for her health on her own. Again, she refused. He looked at me, with pleading in his eyes, and stated again– this could be fatal. Not only did she refuse to stay overnight, she refused any more heart related medication since the second and third dose hadn’t reduced her heart rate as they were supposed to do so. The doctor looked at her like she had horns. “No, thanks.” she said, “My thyroid is probably the reason it’s so high and now that I’ve started medication for that, it should take care of itself.” He was honestly at a loss on how to handle his patient who came in for her rapid heart beat, but yet didn’t want to stay nor seemingly be treated for her rapid heart beat. He explained, yes, the hyperthyroid could be contributing, but the that medication could take a couple weeks before it bring her heart rate down, even though it will have started taken effect internally. “There are many benefits to staying overnight,” he explained, “Besides being monitoring, you’d be able to meet with a case worker and see about low cost endocrinologists.” She didn’t hear any of that. She only saw dollar signs and being inconvenienced.

I’m frustrated with my friend freaking out and deciding even before getting there that she WOULD NOT stay overnight. Period.

I’m frustrated that she’s blaming it on lack of insurance and out-of-pocket costs, but she had applied for Medicaid at the clinic which directed us to the ER that would pay for the freakin hospital stay.

I’m frustrated her overwhelming anxiety gets in the way of her health. She wouldn’t even go to the clinic until someone told her what was wrong with her neck. I looked at her and announced, “Guuuurl, we gotta get your thyroid under control.” When we got to the free clinic today, the doctor was “strongly advocating” we go to the ER right away and mentioned “extremely in danger of going into a thyroid storm.” This was something I had never heard of….

According to the Wikipedia:

Thyroid storm or thyrotoxic crisis is a rare but severe and potentially life-threatening complication of hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland). It is characterized by a high fever (often above 40°C/104°F), fast and often irregular heart beat, vomiting, diarrhea and agitation. Heart failure may occur, and myocardial infarction is encountered. Death may occur despite treatment.[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyroid_storm 

Holy cow! She meets ALL of criteria minus the fever AND THIS IS FATAL! NO WONDER why the free clinic doc was so insistent we get her admitted to the ER STAT!

I’m frustrated I could not talk her into staying overnight for observation. Yes, the hus-bunny is an EMT and we have all the medical supplies and she would be well looked after, but we don’t have the equipment if things went bad. Which, it could.

I’m frustrated because she’s letting her fears get in the way of her health. Also, I think she didn’t want to stay overnight because she wanted a cigarette.

I’m frustrated because I want my friend to be healthy and yet it feels like she’s stifling her own progress.

I’m frustrated because I know ALL THINGS work together for the glory of God, but I’m tired of being yelled at during severe mood swings of which I’m told she doesn’t have.

Lord, give me strength.

Fun with Customer Service

Sooo… this just happened…
Greetings Julep Customer Support, 
          I wish to cancel my recently opened account. I need to be a better steward of what the Lord has provided, and alas pretty nail colors doesn’t fall under that category, nor bless anyone else. It’s too bad you don’t have a charity tie-in or something, because in that case I could totally justify it…. 
“See? I *need* my Julep or else who will fund prosthetic fins for disabled dolphins like Winter? Think of the dolphins!”
(here’s where my account information was)
P.S. For the record: when I started this email, I had no idea this email was going to include disabled dolphin references. Here’s the link so you know what I’m talking about. Winter is the name of a famous disabled dolphin; I wasn’t just randomly naming seasons. It’s a really uplifting story if you’re not familiar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_(dolphin) 
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P. P. S.  I really hope I’m not coming off as a jerk face. That’s not my intent. I hope, if anything, this email made you smile.