I have been dealing with multiple life threatening health issues for 20 years. I have had ups and downs during this journey. Throughout the years, people have said some crazy things to Laura and I. I am sure most meant well, but that’s not the way it always came across. Here is a list to help you have positive conversations with someone dealing with serious medical issues. I will expound on some and some do not need any explanation.
*Well, Todd lasted this long. Yes, someone said that to Laura. Please do not say that to her or me.
*How are doing/How’s your health? I know people mean well, but I am more than my health. I really do not care to spend the whole visit discussing my health. Some days I am not even sure how I am feeling. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. (Hear is a free suggestion: Asked how Laura is doing? As a caregiver, her job is much tougher than mine).
*Do not hug me unless I move in for a hug. Let me initiate all physical contact. Not being mean, but my immune system is compromised.
*If I choose to wear a mask that’s my decision. Please do not make it a political or religious issue. It’s my life.
*If I choose to take a flu shot or some other vaccination that’s my business. Once again, do not make it a political or religious issue.
*Do not just show up for a visit. I could be resting or visiting with other guest. Please call first. Also do not stay all day.
*Do not say, I hate seeing you go through this. My current situation is what it is. I know people mean well, but I do not need a reminder I am sick. My body does a good job of reminding me.
*Do not say, Let me know if I can do anything for you if you do not mean it. I know that might sound harsh, but a lot of people say that just to be kind.
*Do not make my health journey about you. I am sorry if you lost a loved one to an illness I am dealing with, but it does not help if that is that’s all you talk about. Sorry.
*Do not tell me my health issues are caused by some spirit or sin in my life. Laura and I will shut you down. We do not need your poor theology in our lives.
*Do not tell me how I should handle my health issues. This journey is not yours. Laura and I will continue to look to God for His guidance and wisdom.
*Do not say how brave I am. Thanks for the compliment, but I do not always feel brave. Also I did not choose my health issues. It’s just life. I will continue to live a life that hopefully encourages others, but there will be days I do not want or feel like an inspiration.
I share these tips to help educate not to criticize. There is not a playbook on how to walk through a health journey. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or suggestions. ~OC