Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there.
You go to meet a friend who’s been in the hospital…or that random lady in the supermarket…or whatever the case may be. The truth remains:
Dealing with sick people is awkward.
Or, is it just me?
Not only is it awkward, but it can be tense, and even cause more pain when not handled the right way.
So, as someone who deals with some health stuff herself, I’m here to offer a bit of simple advice…
(No, but seriously, this advice will be at least somewhat helpful. Promise.)
So first off, take a deep breath, and let me just remind you of something: we are still normal people.
Here’s my list…
RULE #1: Treat them like a normal person.
Love on them. Encourage them. Hold everyday conversations.
Pray. For. Them. We all need it, and sometimes addressing the issue in a way like that helps to alleviate the pressure.
Just because someone might be sick, doesn’t mean they’re an alien. It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still want to watch a movie with you, or tell you about the book they read or go out for coffee.
True, some may not be physically able to do these things, but there is always some way to connect, even if it just means sitting beside them and reading a magazine.
Don’t act like we are a fragile glass doll, or treat us in an obviously different way from other people, like we’re carrying a deadly contagion. No zombies here.
RULE #2: Be aware of their limitations.
Treat them like a friend, but also be aware of when they may be pushing it too far. This, of course, will vary from case to case. For me, I’d rather go until I collapse, than be a hinderance. I so crave spending time with friends, or just being out of the house, that if you treat me like a perfectly healthy person, I will probably just lie to myself and you and pretend like I can do it. Then, I’ll get home and crash for a week, feeling like crap.
That is NOT to make you feel bad or to blame someone for my pride. It is more of me just admitting my own weakness, and kind of letting you know that it makes things so much easier for me. To have people be aware that I may not be able to do everything. To ask if I can do an activity, rather than assuming that I’m fine. To even decide to take a break, without making it seem like you’re doing it for my sake, is so appreciated. I have friends who do this, and it is SUCH a relief. Takes the guilt and pressure off me, for feeling like I’m handicapped or going to ruin your fun.
So, basically, just be aware when a person dealing with an illness is maybe feeling like they can’t keep going.
RULE #3: Talk about it
When a person is struggling with health, it doesn’t have to be this awkward elephant in the room! It’s totally okay to ask questions about how they’re doing. To inquire about their latest doctor’s visit. To laugh with them about the insane amount of pills.
For me, having Lyme is a large part of my life that I’ve learned to just deal with. Getting to talk to others about it makes the process easier, and allows me to open up more about something that may cause a lot of hurt and stress.
There you have it folks! Anything else I should add to this list? What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?