Recently, thanks to a case of crip burnout, I decided to “just go with it” when a specialist wanted to do a procedure on me despite admitting to never having heard of one of my systemic diseases. The idea of dealing with insurance and finding a suitable second opinion was too exhausting in my mind. A close crip friend intervened, telling me — in colorful language — just how bad of an idea that was. Then she asked for my insurance information and proceeded to call other offices. I was so moved by her care for me; ultimately it stirred up my own sense of deserving good care, and I found a new provider.

That’s a true friend.

My disabilities land me in the ER not infrequently, and if I’m hospitalized, crip friends are the ones who show up to visit me, humor me and my off-color jokes, be in solidarity when I need to advocate for different care or accommodations, and laugh with me while I laugh at myself and my stash of forms from non-compliant patient-ing. Fair-weather friends get strained out real quick when you have several chronic illnesses. Superficiality doesn’t stand a chance; things get real, fast.

Lovers come and go and illness flares and friendships are strained. Only conceptual community is forever. Love is community over individual for me in a world that was not built to house my body or heart.

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