Making a Friend in Clinic for the First Time

Last updated: September 2019

This month has been full of firsts for me!  Feeling good on a chemotherapy, worrying about blood test results, and, making a friend in my clinic!

Just another day at my clinic

I have been going to my clinic since summer 2007.  I have sat in there for god knows how many hours.  I have seen paintings come and go.  New chairs.  New furniture configurations.  New reception staff.  New places to go for bloods and a new pharmacy within the building. So many new things.  But I have never made a friend.  I have never really spoken to anyone in clinic.  If I have, it hasn’t been for very long and, generally speaking, it’s just been about waiting times or where to go or which consultant you are seeing.  It’s never been a chat that I’ve enjoyed for more than the moment it takes place in. And I’ve certainly never been particularly bothered about wanting to continue the chat or see the person again.

Being clumsy landed me a new friend

But, this all changed in my last clinic.  I was being me, which can involve being a bit clumsy and I nearly chucked some water over another patient by mistake. I said to them, "Luckily the new furniture is wipeable so it doesn't matter!"  After checking, I hadn’t made them wet with my spill, we started talking and getting on!  Well... to be fair... also standard me behaviour, I did a lot of talking and they listened.

But it was nice.  It wasn’t forced.  And I didn’t spend all of it thinking how I could wriggle out of talking to them and read my book.  I normally take work with me, but on that day, I decided to have the morning off and take the crime novel I was reading with me. I didn’t really end up reading after all as I was chatting to this other patient.

I then had to wait an hour for my prescription from the pharmacy so they came and chatted with me some more. And we swapped numbers and are still in touch.

The value of many kinds of friends

I have a few cancer friends, but not that many.  Sadly some have died, or life has happened and we are no longer in touch, which is fine. Friends come in and out of life and I’m fairly relaxed about that,  other than with my close group, obviously.  I’d be devastated if I didn’t see them again.  So to meet someone with the same diagnosis as me and to genuinely get on with them REGARDLESS of having cancer in common is really, really nice.  The plus that they also have CML is that they also get it.  Oh and that they are a similar age.  Most in our clinic are much older, and whilst you can obviously have a nice conversation with them, it’s not quite the same.  To have someone who gets it and gets it at the age we are, well, that’s quite special.

So I’m very pleased I nearly chucked water over that stranger, might not make a habit of it though!

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