About a decade ago, I was really ill. The symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis had reached severe levels. My lungs were failing, and I was malnourished and underweight. I was admitted to hospital at least 5 times a year, for 2-3 weeks at a time. I hadn’t been admitted much before that and I was scared.
While I was there, I met two girls who also had CF, and who had been brought in for hospital admissions for years. They helped me through those weeks, when I was jabbed with needles, given intravenous antibiotics, and prescribed extra oxygen. They gave me advice and support when I really needed it, and we spent our days laughing down the phone to each other, as we couldn’t meet in person. They actually made hospital stays fun.
Then I got better, my lungs and weight improved, and I now haven’t been admitted to hospital in over 5 years. I haven’t seen those girls since then. This week, the news came that the second of the girls had passed away. We lost the first a year and a half ago. They were 19 and 22 years old.
I had no idea that either of them was that unwell, and I find it hard to comprehend how I got better and they didn’t. I spent so much time talking to them both on the ward, but it never crossed my mind, not even once, that they would die. I took it for granted that if my health improved, then theirs would too.
I wish I’d told them how much they helped me through those many hospital admissions. I don’t think they’ll ever know what their support and their company meant for me when I was in hospital. I’m not sure what more I can say, as I’m still trying to deal with it, and understand how they both could have had their lives cut so short. Girls at the ages of 19 and 22 shouldn’t die from an illness that’s been threatening them their whole lives, but there is no cure and some of the most effective treatments are deemed ‘too expensive’ to prescribe.
In everything that I do, in everything that I am healthy enough to do, I’ll always be thinking of them.