I've received several emails from people in the past week in this vein:
I know it's been a year since we've talked and I couldn't be bothered with even a hasty "good luck" when you said you couldn't make it because you were having surgery. I know I've ignored your occasional emails and phone calls until you stopped trying but (insert excuse here). However,
-now I have a question about work that only you can answer
-my husband/brother/friend has one of the same spine issues and now we understand or want your advice
Hope to hear from you soon.
Fair Weather Friend
Yes, one person actually said, "I know I never asked how the biopsy went but..." One person only contacts me when she wants something. Others I just think are busy. I finally called one person out on it and she said she doesn't really know how to deal with that much pain. Neither do I.
Some of my friends are busy, exhausted from work, have other big life issues to deal with. All of this is understandable. It really is. Those friends stick with me. Others do call and say hello and I know it can't be often. But someone just ignoring me until she needs my help again and most of the time not even bothering to reply to my response ("thanks for the help") is just rude.
I just don't get this. My husband pointed out once that he saw an acquaintance of ours, and that when she saw me she literally ran the other direction. Wahahaha, scary monster woman on wheels.
Anyway, I had made the decision to stop being used in this way and need to stick with it. That's difficult for me to do. Sticking up for myself is not something I was taught and it's painful to have to dig in, whether it's for disability accommodations or with friendships. I don't need or want to be rude to others, but setting boundaries is appropriate in this kind of situation and I've never regretted doing so.
Sorry to complain. I should be used to this. When I was young and had to be taught at home because of bodycasting and its aftermaths, my friends and their parents did the same. Their parents told my mom they didn't want their daughters to have to deal with that. I know this is how some people are and I know that I am sensitive. I am becoming less so, though. I no longer feel queasy or with my stomach in knots when I pull up to an area full of strangers and see heads swivel and faces look surprised, for example. Sometimes I just have to learn to settle in again with what is.
Note: Some of my friends are worriers and this isn't about you. This doesn't apply to friends who read the blog or any blogging friendships; we converse way more often than that.