It is sad to realize how little time most of us adults have to spend with our friends. We do our best to maintain good friendships, even if we have to go for days (or weeks) without any real conversation or face-to-face time. We have our families, our jobs, our churches, and numerous other commitments.
One of my good friends and I have discovered an unusual way to spend time together. I periodically take the day off and go with her for her chemotherapy treatments. We have about an hour’s drive to the cancer center. This is when we catch up on the most pressing issues in our lives. Once we arrive, we have a few minutes of waiting time before we are called back, and then another short wait before they actually start the treatment. Since we are in a more public place, the tone and content of our conversation tends to change just a little to suit the setting. They give her a big dose of Benadryl before starting the chemo, so we have just a few more short minutes when she can remind me of whatever health questions or concerns she has, just in case they try to talk with her (as they often do) while she is still heavily under the influence of Benadryl. She then drifts off to sleep for most of the 90 minute treatment. I take books or magazines and a notebook and use that time to read or write. By the time her treatment is finished, she is beginning to come out from under the heavy sleepiness. We return to the car and choose a restaurant for lunch. By this time we have either exhausted the high priority topics and/or she is still a little groggy, so conversation is light and fun. For the drive home, particularly on sunny days like today where the warmth relaxes her even more, we usually share a comfortable silence between friends.
It’s a shame that it takes the invasion of cancer to open up time for our friendship. I think that maybe we all need to slow down and take care of the things that matter most – like friendships – before it takes a crisis to bring us together.