The culture I come from has a special term for someone with whom you can identify. A someone who can commiserate with you, who can empathize, who can feel what you feel, almost.
The strictest translated definition of the word is co-parent. It describes the person who baptizes your child and becomes their godmother or godfather. With this process they become your comadre or compadre.
In casual use, in the slang form perhaps, it means something much richer. Your best buddy is your comadre or your compadre. You do not need to have a child needing baptism to acquire a compa.
This insightful post by J.G. Chayko made me stop to think about who I have to share my RA trials and tribulations with face to face. Sharing in the sense that they don’t just hear me grouse, but totally get it.
Not my husband, who at first gave me a wide berth, sailor that he is. He thought, since I was in so much pain, that his backing away and not placing demands on me of any kind was the kindest thing to do.
It wasn’t. And though he is now supportive to the nth degree, he cannot know what I feel.
Not my children from whom I hid my disease with a passion for many years. I did not want to let them see me sweat. Must be strong, must be strong for those whom I brought into the world and depended on me.
Now I educate them as to what RA can do when it decides to do it.
Not my coworkers who absolutely depended on me, especially when the buck stopped with me. My pride wouldn’t allow me to let them know how much pain I was in, though I did eventually enlist two of them to help me with Humira injections to my arms, an area that I could not reach myself.
This problem ended when I retired from nursing. Sadly, but I knew it was time to pass the baton. My oldest son is now the R.N. in the family. Though he and his wife, a pharmacist, can relate to the theory of RA and its treatment modalities, they cannot know what it is really like.
So I closed my eyes and searched. Who was there for me? Who was my compa?
And it hit me like a lightning bolt. Of course! I’d just seen him today when we’d put our heads together once again and shared war stories about ways to defeat and one-up RA. We do that every two months, more frequently if RA is being more horrid than usual to me.
He is there for me, always. I can call. I can email. I can visit. My rheumatologist is my compa, for he has RA and he knows.