Monday, July 21, 2008

Would You Rather Be A good, Sick Person, Or A Healthy, Bad Person?

“Serious illness doesn’t bother me for long because I am too inhospitable a host”
- Albert Schweitzer

Now, I’ll admit, this isn’t really a fair question. However, I’m inclined to first respond that I would rather be healthy, period. But if I had to pick, I guess I would pick good over bad, even though that also means opting for sick over healthy.

We can’t have it all, can we? And for that matter, we don’t get to decide.

I always thought that by taking care of my body, I would be able to thwart illness, at least for a few more decades. But that’s not true. The illusion of control is great, but in reality, there is very little we actually have control over.

Especially at this age, if you haven’t experienced serious or chronic illness, you may think that staying healthy is within your control. And so, I wonder how I can help those around me learn what it’s like really to be sick?

Have any of you seen what Kerry over at Six Until Me has been doing?

She’s had some of her co-workers be diabetics for a day (Part One and Part Two).
Now I wonder…

Could this be done with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis?

I think the “The Spoon Theory,” which I’ve posted about before (Leslie on “Spoon Theory”), is a good exercise to this end.

However, I do think there are people who literally have to walk in your or my shoes in order to understand what you or I are going through. Often times I think the attitude is, if I haven’t been there and done that, why should I care?

Making people realize that they would have to calculate the energy of every activity and that, almost without question, they would not have enough energy to do everything they set out to do, is certainly a starting point. But what about the nausea, dizziness, generalized feeling of being unwell? And let’s not forget about the joint and muscle pain. Plus, all of these symptoms are variable and come and go as they please. And let’s not forget that what your illness doesn’t cause, your medication probably will…

How do we truly make those around us understand all of that?


  1. Funny that you mention bad people being healthy. I know several people who have been bad and done bad things in their lives yet are healthy. I have thought many times that it is not fair for me to have lupus and them be healthy. I have tried to live a good life and be good to others. Why do they get a healthy life while they hurt others? Sometimes I think karma will eventually get them but then,is this my karma? What did I do to get it? This is a subject I am still struggling with. It's the question why me? Or what did I do to deserve this? In the end, the only answer I have is -- its not fair.
    To answer your question, I would not want to live my life as a bad person even with the promise of being healthy. I wouldn't want to hurt other people for my own gain.

  2. You know, I hadn't really been thinking of it that way when I wrote the post. I was more thinking about it in terms of myself and as much as being sick stinks, that I would rather be good and sick than bad and healthy. But I see what you mean...

  3. I don't think there is anyway to make people understand what you are going through until they go through it themselves. I once had to have back surgery (A while ago) my boss was very mean about it. A year later, he had to have the same surgery. He was out from work way longer then me! When he came back, he apologized for being so mean about it. He said he had no idea what it was like until it happened to him!

  4. Thanks for your comment, Migraine Chick! I guesss my thing is that I don't wish these illnesses on any of my frieds and I wish there was a way for them to pseudo-experience it... But then, I guess in perfect world none of us would be sick.

  5. The National MS Society does something similar, where they go to a mall (or another public place) and have people experience what it's like to have MS. They have them put on all sorts of crazy gear to simulate the vision problems, walking problems, etc. It's an effective way to give people a more concrete idea of what it's like to live with that particular invisible disease.

    That said, I've often wondered the same thing about Migraine. Is there a way to give a non-sufferer a way to experience my day-to-day life? The problem is, there's not really an easy way to reproduce the pain of Migraine (or RA or Lupus) without having it. Yeah, I could put a nail into someone's head, but that is usually frowned upon.

    I think Migraine Chick is right. There's no way to really understand it without experiencing it yourself. But maybe there's a way to show someone and have them act out all of our coping skills to get an idea of the impact on our lives.

    Be well,