Every two weeks for the past six years, I have had a standing date with my dear friend Sonja. I look forward to seeing Sonja and never skip out on our time together. No matter how busy life is or other schedule demands, I always make time to see her. We have the best talks, telling funny stories about our husbands and kids, relating to one another, sharing recipes and cool craft ideas we've seen on Pinterest, debriefing after an exceptionally tragic episode of Downton Abby, suggesting good reads to one another, especially trilogies that are turned into movies, to name just a few of the topics we cover. She has the most encouraging smile and laugh, an authentic joy and compassion that turn a bad day into a good one. The time I spend with her seems to go flying by so much so that our 2 hour date feels more like 10 minutes.
Sonja has been there for me through so many joys and trials. She held my hand and mourned with me after a miscarriage and celebrated and encouraged me through a high risk pregnancy that resulted in the birth of a perfect baby girl. She has guided me through major health issues, helping me navigate my way through all the tests, specialists and medications, all the while supporting me with her compassionate smile. In between our scheduled meeting, I know she is just a phone call away –listening and encouraging me when I have questions with thoughtful consideration and care.
Our standing date, the one I never miss, does not take place at Starbucks or Panera. We don't meet for lunch or happy hour and were not introduced at school or church. We don’t go shopping together or meet up at the gym. The time I spend with my friend and nurse Sonja revolves entirely around the Cancer Center where I am treated biweekly with an infusion of life-giving medication.
Her compassionate approach to nursing combined with her excellent medical care has made such an immense difference in my life. I have such confidence in her and her abilities that I walk into the infusion room with an absolute peace that I will be well taken care of. An example of her excellence and stellar service can be seen in her ability to get an intravenous line inserted her first attempt. That deserves repeating - she gets the vein her first try, every time. You have no idea what that means to a patient dependent on IV therapy but holding off on getting a port until absolutely necessary. It's huge for me and my life, living with a chronic disease; makes all the difference in the world to me.
And she lands that vein while discussing Katniss Everdeen or crockpot beef stroganoff, with a smile on her face and joy in her voice. In that moment I forget I am sick and spending time at the Cancer Center.
In that moment, I am spending time with a friend.
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