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.
You’re rheumatologist has RA? Wow. I guess I would call that fortunate for the patient and perhaps unfortunate for the doctor, but then again he can really empathize with his patients can’t he? I don’t have a compra either. I have no peers with RA, an acquaintance or two, but nobody close to me to have a cup of coffee with. I guess my cyber RA friends would be the closest to a compra. They’ve been understanding, helpful, and they listen and know of what I speak.
Yes, unfortunate for all that have chronic disease. Fortunate in a way for him since he is at the brink of new breakthroughs. I didn’t know he had it until a few years ago. I hope I didn’t give it to him as I have it for twice as long! But, he’s great, caring, and takes his time which makes appointments take three hours long, but worth my time, every minute of it.
I’m in the same boat. No one close to me has this disease – no family or friends (which I’m thankful for), so I turn to my online family. My partner does everything he can to be supportive and he’s amazing but there’s always that missing part knowing that he can’t really know how I feel… but still, I am lucky in many ways and try to focus on the good stuff… and a big part of that is knowing I am not alone in my battle. This is a lovely post. Thanks for my virtual hug.
Hi, J. You started my noodle thinking. So important to have someone to relate to and empathize with. I give thanks for all my blogworld friends every day.
I am in the same position, nobody close to me who truly “gets it.” My husband is the closest who will ever truly understand, because he knows me better than anyone and because he is facing his own physical challenges. He’ll actually be seeing my rheumatologist next week to start figuring out why he is having so much joint pain and fatigue.
I am grateful for the online friends I’ve found- all have been supportive. It’s important that we have someone who will understand us 🙂
Hi, Kim, I hope they had good news for your hubby. Good news with pain relief. Joint pain is the pits, but fatigue takes the cake. i have formed deep friendships on line and they get me through.
It’s wonderful that you have such a compassionate, understanding friend you can talk to about your RD–and he just happens to be your rheumatologist! I’m so glad for you, Irma. I just lost my rheumy of five years and don’t know who’ll be replacing him, yet, so I’m a bit worried. Maybe I’ll get lucky, and like you, find a comadre or compradre. Fingers crossed.
This was a lovely post. 🙂
Hi, Wren. I was surprised when he told me about it several years ago. He is so kind-hearted. He treats children and adults, compassionate to the extreme. I’ve had it for twice as long as he, and now I would never change doctors. Not willingly, at least. My visits with him are not solely doctor/patient interactions, but more of a meeting of traveling companions. I hope you find someone as good as him.
Irma: That’s so wonderful that you have a rheumatologist that can relate. When thinking about what I would tell others who have RA, finding the right doctor is at the top of the list. You have to find someone who treats you like a person, who looks at the whole patient. The fact that you have found someone who goes even beyond those essentials is wonderful.
Hi, Carla. I am lucky. The first one let me end up in the ER with fluid building up in my chest cavity. That’s how I found out I had RA. This doctor brought me back from the brink. I gladly wait the three hours that my appointments take. He gives his time and compassion to all.