One never knows what will spark a memory that will take us back to a certain time or place. For actor/comedian Kumail Nanjiani, it was a visitor's badge from the hospital where his then girlfriend and future wife was suffering from an un-diagnosed illness. It was this terrible experience that ultimately inspired Nanjiani to produce his hit film The Big Sick.
Emily's mom just found this. I'd given her my phone number when she first came to the hospital when Emily got sick in case she needed to contact me. Wrote it on the back of the visitor badge.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
She still has it.
Certain objects have the power to pull you back. Wow. pic.twitter.com/kptIxbFTfo
I hadn't seen this in 10 years. Probably not since that first day with her mom. Looking at it, I got pulled right back into that moment. And the strongest feeling I felt was this kind of fearful floating. Emily's condition & disease at that point felt so big & unknowable.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
The extreme fear & not knowing & the vagueness of it all created a bubble. And you just kinda float around in this bubble. Everything you see is through this bubble. I remember going to Walgreens & getting angry at someone just buying gum. Why do you get to live a normal life?— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
And you expend so much energy to not think about the one thing that's unthinkable. So much of your entire being is spent trying to not think of the worst case scenario. And every day was a new theory on what it was. I remember the day they thought it was leukemia.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
I had a family member who had passed away from that disease. And the doctor just said it nonchalantly & walked out. I thought "Well if it is that, at least we'll get to talk to her again. Her parents will get to say goodbye." That was an actual thought I had. Oof.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
It doesn't get more real than that.
I played Mario in the waiting room for days on end, & couldn't hear the sound of him collecting coins for years after that. I remember thinking how unfair it was. And Emily is always so full of life & fills a room with her energy & seeing her like that felt vulgar.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
It's still the longest we've gone without speaking since the day we met. Ok. I gotta stop. This is too much. But I'll just say, her disease felt so unknowable & now it's this thing we know. We still deal with it, but it has a name & that is so important for us.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
I'm proud of her for being open about it & for sharing her story with people. I think sometimes people feel shame for having a disease or condition. But they shouldn't. It's not your fault. She's dealt with it by talking to ppl about it, & ppl have talked to her about theirs.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
Sorry. Didn't mean to type all this. I don't know what happened. I was just staring at that picture & couldn't stop. There's no larger point here. I'm glad she fought so hard. I'm proud of her for being strong. That's all.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
Her condition is part of her, but it's not all of her. It doesn't define her. But it's something we'll deal with for the rest of our lives. And that's ok. Whew. I'm really done now.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 8, 2018
Best statement I’ve seen in a long time by a person who’s in love with someone with a serious/chronic/long-term illness. This is legit unconditional love - rare, scary, beautiful & exceptional. Makes me tear up. Hope they take you up on it Rosie! Loved you on Stern!— Michelle A (@TweetMichelleA) January 9, 2018
And now your blessings are even sweeter. So happy for you that your beloved Emily is still w/you.— Mary Christen Czech (@christenczech) January 8, 2018
This is perfect. My husband was diagnosed with MS a few months after we met. I had so many of those "why do YOU get a normal life" moments (still do sometimes). But yeah, it's not who he is -- just something we deal with.— shauna (@goldengateblond) January 8, 2018
I was sick for more than 1/2 my life. Deathbed sick. Had to write a will while my heart was failing sick. It took me 8 years of perfect health to become ok with talking about it because I felt weak/guilty. This thread is fantastic. This movie is fantastic. @kumailn is fantastic. https://t.co/jukkNDr1je— The Sassiest Semite (@LittleMissLizz) January 8, 2018
I am sorry to hear that Sandra. That is a beautiful quote. You sound like a really strong person. It is inspiring to read.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 10, 2018
beautiful in every way - the big sick - film of the year to me ❤️❤️❤️— ROSIE (@Rosie) January 8, 2018
you, my friend, are truly wonderful. this is the sweetest thread ever and i’m glad you wrote it.— Katie Aselton (@duplaselton) January 8, 2018
Much love to you guys. So blown away by what you've done with your shared story.— Dan Telfer (@dantelfer) January 10, 2018
Every now and again the Internet can be a beautiful place.