Three Things NOT To Say To Sick People
Hello, friends! You're still my friend, right? K, good. I've quite a few friends over the last few months, so I'm just checking. If you're coming from Kveller - welcome new friend! If you haven't read my story on Kveller about how I got dysautonomia and sought treatment, please read it now. Go on. I'll wait... (tapping fingers on table)
You're back! Great!
So, we live in a very politically correct world. People get offended really easily these days. I mean really easily. My dad likes to tell me that I was born with no sense of humor sometimes because I get really irritated when people say stupid things to me because I'm sick...or because I'm Israeli. So, here are three things you should never say to a sick person, and, if you're sick - here's how to respond:
- You should really try [insert diet name here]... it worked wonders for my cousin who wanted to lose weight! Problem: I'm not really trying to lose weight and I've been on nearly every diet. Response: Thank you so much for that information. Unfortunately, losing weight isn't my main concern. Right now, my brain is sending signals to my [insert part of body here] - it's a mis-wiring and diets don't really help. Thank you for your concern, though.
- You're so lucky to still be working! Problem: I'm not sure if we'd call that luck so much as my symptoms aren't as bad as other people's symptoms. Response: You're right, I'm lucky enough to still bring in an income when others cannot but please keep in mind that I often struggle to get myself into the office and I usually feel like hell when I do. That's not luck. It feels like stupidity sometimes.
- At least it's not cancer! Problem: not every cancer diagnosis leads to death and/or rounds of horrible debilitating chemo/radiation. And the two medical issues are so vastly different that there's really no comparison. I've heard others with dysautonomia who have had cancer state they'd rather have cancer than dysautonomia. Response: None. Just punch them in the face. Alternatively, you can say "wow, that's really offensive. You don't see me at my worst, so please don't ever compare my medical disorder to another medical disorder". (You should probably go with the alternative)
I know we live in a PC world and we can always walk away from stupid comments but it doesn't make them hurt any less. Have compassion when you're talking to someone who is sick. I'll follow up later with things you SHOULD say to someone who is sick.