I met my friend Sally back in 1996 at the end of my first day of work as a speech-language pathologist. It was my last stop of the day. I had one more swallowing evaluation to do before I could go home. I rolled up to the nursing station to review the medical chart for the resident and almost ran over the nurse sitting on the floor in the doorway.
Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you. It’s the only way I can keep an eye on one of my wanderers and still get my charting done.
Over the next few months, I learned Sally was someone I could turn to when I didn’t understand notations in medical records. As a new graduate just embarking on a career in medical speech-language pathology, I frequently encountered new abbreviations and acronyms. Sally never laughed at me when I asked her to explain something I probably should have known. She calmly answered my questions, giving me clarity on why parts of a person’s medical history might be relevant for their current treatment.
As time went on, we began to see each other outside of work. We would meet for dinner and a movie. Sally may actually talk more than I do, so our nights together were never quiet.
Sally changed jobs and moved away for a few years. I was reassigned to another nursing home and eventually left the field to work in public health. But we stayed in touch, seeing each other when we could if Sally traveled back to the area. Our friendship is the type of friendship which does not require daily watering to bloom and flourish. We never lost touch when Sally lived out of the area. It only took one phone call when she moved back for us to return to our routine of dinners, movies and gab sessions.
Sally is a devoted, generous friend. She comes to my rescue whenever she can. She is dependable and loyal, caring and kind. When I was preparing to be discharged from the hospital in 2013, Sally volunteered to stay with me for five nights so I would be safe to come home. She also serves as a back-up Personal Assistant for me, helping me frequently when my other staff are ill or cannot make a shift. I know whenever I call, if she can help in any way she will. Even if it is 12:22 AM and I am sick, unable to get out of bed, I only need to call Sally and she comes to help.
I have shared my frustrations with maintaining good Personal Assistant staff in posts on this blog. Sally is one of the main reasons I have been able to continue to function throughout this year when I was short staffed. While I was preparing for my Australia trip, I was also packing my entire apartment for repairs which were to be done while I was gone. Sally came to my house almost every night for two weeks to help with my personal care and with packing. She and her sister also helped prepare my apartment for my return, saving me from coming home to a mess.
At one point about five years ago, we spent most of our gab sessions discussing our experiences with online dating. I was jaded and ready to call it quits when Sally told me she had met someone “different.” I calmly reminded her they all seemed different at first, but she told me this guy was something special.
I went to dinner with Sally and Greg a few months later, and agreed he did indeed seem different than the other men she had been dating. He seemed genuine. He asked intelligent questions over dinner. He went to church regularly. He chewed with his mouth closed. Things looked promising!
At the end of this past October, I had the good fortune to be a bridesmaid at Sally and Greg’s wedding. It was a beautiful day and both of them looked very happy. They have had their fair share of trials and tragedies this past year, and it was a blessing to be a part of their celebration.
Sally – thank you for all you did to help make my Australia trip a reality. I would not have been packed and ready to go without your help. You were an optimistic presence whenever I needed a boost, and a fantastic sounding board when I needed to talk things through. My transition back to the real world was made easier thanks go you and Sue. I appreciate all of the little things you do to make my world a better place, and I know the future holds even more adventures for us both.