I needed digital shoulders to cry on.
By mid-March, COVID-19 took New Orleans.
Because this pandemic ravaged our city, my hospital opened three additional ICUs to keep up with the volume of people contracting the disease. This brought our total ICU bed count to more than 150. Hospital protocols and policies were changing by the hour. Even though I was surrounded with these unusual circumstances, one thing remained constant - I have two amazing friends.
Paige and Catherine have been my rock.
Paige and I have been friends since sophomore year of high school. We were assigned to be lab partners that year because our last names started with the same letter. We frequently got off task, only to have our last names yelled out by the teacher - something we still impersonate and laugh about to this day.
She calls me every day to check on me. I looked forward to hearing her voice during the thick of this. “Hey, Paige” I’d say. And sometimes she’d just listen to me, just listen to whatever I needed to get off my chest. She’s family, she knows more about me than most of my family, and my family is one of the closest things to my heart. So that’s saying something.
And Catherine? I met her in college through Paige. Well, kind of. Catherine and I had a dance class together when we were little -- five-years-old-little. We wore the same costume and everything, but didn’t realize this until we became friends in college and stumbled upon a picture of us wearing the same dance costume.
While Paige, Catherine, and I no longer live in the same city, we make a point to call and talk to each other frequently. We’ve been known to take spur of the moment trips to see each other, or just to get away. There is never a dull moment when the three of us are together. We always have a good time, but more importantly, we have always been there to support each other.
You may know the Grey’s Anatomy phrase “she’s my person”. They’re my people. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. They’re always there, they trust me, they don’t judge me for anything. They always have my back. They know what I need without me needing to tell them. Sometimes, I think they know me better than I know myself. They have supported me through my successes and my failures, and they never fail to be there when I need them most. And for that I am forever grateful. I hope they know just how much they mean to me.
Like I said, I love my family. They’d be there for me in an instant, but what Catherine, Paige and I have … it’s on a different level.
Recently, they have listened to my struggles and the heart wrenching stories I encountered during this whole experience. They send me gifts to let me know they’re thinking of me.
They sent me a bracelet and it says “Essential AF.” For those of you reading this wondering what AF is? Google it.
A good laugh is what I needed. This has been one of the most stressful things I’ve experienced. And these two know how to keep me grounded even if it requires a little humor.
They know just when I need a laugh. They know just when I need a digital shoulder to cry on.
They know me.
Essential AFCassidy Pocorello