I’m Glad I Made a Difference in My Friend’s Life

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

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I haven’t felt like myself the past couple of days.

One night, I drifted off at about 11 p.m. only to wake up around 2 in the morning. I wasn’t able to fall back asleep and didn’t want to disturb my wife, so I went downstairs.

Last week, I attended the funeral of a family member who passed away because of a blood clot. She would’ve turned 43 the day after my daughter’s 20th birthday. The day before, I found out that one of my friends had lost her mother. The day before that, I discovered that a childhood friend was hospitalized due to diabetes complications.

Everything happened so quickly that I started thinking about my own mortality.

I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I continued on, through the motions of family life: shopping, cooking, running errands. I kept thinking about my friend in the hospital. I remembered all the times I was hospitalized for my spontaneous pneumothorax and how lonely it was. Hospitals can be alienating, especially when the only people visiting you are medical professionals who speak a language that’s far beyond your understanding.

I considered texting or calling my friend to let him know that I was thinking about him. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.

Trust your gut and make a difference

Later that day, I decided I would visit him.

I arrived at the hospital and saw that his door was closed, so I knocked before entering. His room was dark and dreary. He was lying in bed watching an old episode of “Gunsmoke” when he looked up and saw me. He was pleasantly surprised that I came, and he smiled immediately.

I hadn’t seen him in about three years. We talked and laughed and shared our medical issues. He said he was nervous about a procedure the doctors were considering, and I assured him that he would be fine. Being the animated storyteller that I am, I shared some of my hospital experiences and said, “If I can have both of my lungs collapse and still be able to laugh, you’ll be just fine!”

We laughed so hard I had to grab my oxygen.

Several doctors came to see him while I was there. I hadn’t realized that he was scheduled for the procedure he mentioned in about two hours. They were prepping him for surgery, so we wrapped up our visit. I think both of us were glad that we were able to see each other. I felt refreshed and was happy that I didn’t talk myself out of the visit.

Sometimes sarcoidosis tries to hold us hostage, but we can’t let ourselves be victimized by this condition. Believe that you can make a difference, even when you least expect it. You are the difference.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


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