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New Friends, Far Friends - We’re In This Together

Posted Nov 21 2008 1:54pm

I want to tell you about another one of my online friends today…

Oh, I know. You are sighing and saying.. again? But,I think all my friends are special, but this friend is very unique, and I wil tell you why in a bit. One thing meeting and chatting with people online has done for me is to break alot of preconceived ideas about people, where they live, what they’ve done. And you know what? I’ve found out we are all alike in more ways than we are different so why do we let the differences, perpetuated over time, keep us from knowing each other better? Don’t get to thinking on that too much, or you won’t finish reading this. I know - I bring up some very deep questions at times…. lol.

Some of my first good online friends were from the north: Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but you know ….they had the same fears about PD I did, they enjoyed laughing and have a great spirit that came through even in their typed words on the computer. I had always believed the idea “People from the North are rude and unfriendly”, well I met plenty of them who aren’t. And the people I know out in California….well .the jury is still out on them ( know they think they are all so radically different…he he he..well, they are! Lov ya Karen and Marian!!!) And people who live in Florida…I can get along with a Florida Gator team lover (can’t I Dana!) but I still wonder about their sanity!

Well, my newest online friend has again taught me that some things we hear via the media and through politics and just people’s biases are just that - focused on differences. I think we ought to look past our differences and see the person who lives half way around the world as just that - another person like you and me.

I will call my new online friend that I am referring to here as SFA for ’so far away’. If I were to type her name, I’m not sure you could say it right anyway! She is a woman that is 40 who lives in the United Arabic Emerate state way across the globe. The time difference is 9 hours between us. I was introduced to SFA by another friend here in the states who has Parkinson’s. At first I thought, don’t know if I can find anything to talk about with someone who lives in a culture so different from mine. It was soon apparent to me, that we had lots of things to talk about besides PD!

I call SFA my friend, because she can relate to the same things with me: she is struggling with how Parkinson’s will affect her life, she wants to know which medicines are best, and how a person with Parkinson’s feels about it all. Those are all things I have gone through. I only hope I can help her find little ways to cope with this illness. She is a young mother of a young boy, 10 years old. She is looking for a good doctor. She is worried that she might be a burden someday to her family. I think a few of us have had these thoughts, haven’t we? And those common issues tend to form a bond of friendship when they are shared by others we come to know.

I don’t know what it is about us humans–why we desire comraderie so much. I do know when you are facing a chronic illness like PD, you want to know how other people handle it all–how they can still smile and complain very little. The power of the internet allows us to find out these things with interactions with people all over the world!! and that is so amazing! SFA and I have shown each other our pictures. That is another great curiosity that talking with someone online naturally occurs–you want to see what this person looks like! And then you’d like to hear their voice. Fortunately for me, SFA speaks and types English very well!

Today for the first time, SFA and I were able to view each others webcam and talk on microphones with each other. I think we probably laughed more than we talked. It was so fun! She tried to teach me to speak some Arabic words; she would say them, then type them on the screen. I would say them in my best east Tennessee version of Arabic and she would laugh every time. But she did admit I say her name fairly well, and she says Judy with a very cool sound to it!!

Anyway, one of the things SFA asks me the most is how can you smile having this disease? I just do. Maybe it’s something inside me that refuses to give in to it. She tells me I like to laugh, and I think she does too. It just takes talking to a crazy person like me to get her going at it!!!! Today we talked about riding bikes of all things. And I’ve learned that if SFA lived in the states she would have voted for the democratic nominee, but I let that slide by!! lol

I’ve introduced her to a few other online friends of mine and gotten her to go to the Patients Like Me website. I hope the things I tell her or suggest to her are helpful. That’s what I want to be …helpful. And hopeful, and able to share a laugh once in awhile. I don’t believe in coincidence…I believe I was supposed to meet this woman who lives so far away at this time for some reason. And she may be one of the friends on the net that I never get to meet in person, but I can say knowing her has already enriched my life. Hang in there SFA…and see?! I told you I’d blog about you someday!!!

If you’d like to write to SFA let me know! I know she would be encouraged to hear from others with PD!



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