The fruits of friendship and why mine is rotten

I had no one to pick me after surgery other than my sister

In Summary

• Falling sick inspires reflections on how limited my social circle is

Surgeons at a hospital in Kenya
Surgeons at a hospital in Kenya
Image: FILE

I’ve been dying in bed for the past four days. It’s spring, so pollen is everywhere, and this year it’s decided to be violent.

I don’t think I’ve had a fresh breath of air since Wednesday because of how inflamed my sinuses are. Sleeping, which is one of my favourite things to do, has become almost impossible. I’m a mouth breather now. The horror!

When you’re sick, life feels a little slow. When you’re sick and it’s a week to your period, you feel like a freaking sloth. I feel like my eyes shrunk because of how swollen my head feels, and my face just looks sad. I sneeze about five times an hour and sometimes, the sneeze refuses to come out. It’s been torturous.

This whole experience has made me realise that I may need friends. My nonchalance towards making connections in the United States has come back to bite me in my behind.

My sister had flown out and I was alone. So sick I could barely blink, and with no one to call for help with anything. It was devastating. As I lay in bed, dramatically having a conversation with my inner god and the universe, I wondered how different life would have been if I had made friends here.

There was this one girl who really wanted to be friends. On a couple of occasions, she invited me to hang out and I said I would. I never did. Over time, we have shifted into polite ‘heys’ when we passed each other on the street. I’m scared of white women and haven’t quite figured out how to be friends with them. She was white. White and blonde. White, blonde and very chatty.

I realise my decision not to make friends stemmed from past trauma with friends. When you break up with your partner, you can immediately get under another one and feel great. When you break up with friends, it’s like a big part of your identity goes along with them. I didn’t lose one friend, I lost five of the friendships I thought were lifelong. That scarred me.

I’ve been to the hospital more times this year than I have been all my life. For me, going to the hospital has been an act of self-care, a practice of self-love. I just didn’t know there was this many things wrong with me. In Kenya, all through high school, I was told it’s malaria or amoeba. Turns out, it’s my liver. Not fun. I’ll need to be on meds until I die, and you know I hate medicine.

The whole process has really opened me up to how empty I am in the friendship department. About two weeks ago, I needed mini surgery for my liver and couldn’t find anyone in my phonebook to come get me after. My sister did show up for me but still, it was a very hard pill to realise that she’s the only one I have to call a friend. And we’re not even friends, friends. We’re sister friends.

The thought of allowing other strangers into my space feels unbearable, though. So maybe I’ll just be one of those girls whose cats eat for dinner after she dies alone. Also, it’s my birthday. I’m 28!

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star