I’ve known Kate for a few years, ever since I started graduate school. Our program is small, so everyone knows each other and tends to take classes together. Yet Kate and I became close when we struggled with a challenging research class (with challenging classmates), and I later discovered that she teaches in the community that I live in. As we continue to battle through the thesis process, we’d get together and chat about various things. She mentions her woes of being a teacher and not getting a raise this year, and I would politely tell her to STFU since she makes more money than me and I can’t even remember the last time I got a raise. Then we’d laugh and talk about other things.
The last time I saw her we had one of our hilarious dinners at Olive Garden. It was hilarious because we had the worst waiter in the world. The poor thing meant well, but he gave me spaghetti in meat sauce when I clearly wanted spaghetti and meatballs and her order for ravioli also got messed up. Everytime we go out to eat, something crazy happens. She told me she was going to have surgery for her knee and that she was pretty nervous about it. I told her to calm down, things would be fine.
And they were. She sent me an email after the surgery, saying that things went well and that she was recuperating at her brother’s home. I promised her I’d come see her once I returned from vacation. So I went off to the beach without a care in the world.
Then I get a phone call yesterday on Kate’s cell phone, but it was Kate’s mother talking. I’m kind of morbid, so as soon as I heard her mother’s voice I immediately panicked and thought that something horrible happened to Kate, that she was on the road dead somewhere. I was close. Her mother told me that she developed a horrible blood clot after the surgery. She woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble bleeding, then immediately called an ambulance. The doctors said that if she hadn’t called for help, she would have died in her sleep.
The whole story was jarring. But I was touched when her mother told me about how Kate thought of me as a good friend and how much our outings meant to her. Kate is from another state and it seems like I’m her only friend in this area. So today I’m going to round up a card and my game face before I head out to the hospital this evening to wish her well. I hope she can recover quickly from this.