When Your Friend Has a Chronic Illness | Giftie Etcetera: When Your Friend Has a Chronic Illness

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When Your Friend Has a Chronic Illness

If you invite me over, I might say no. Or I might say yes, but cancel at the last minute. 

That doesn't mean that I don't want to see you.

time, planner, illness, chronic illness,

I'm a planner and an overachiever, even at maintaining friendships, so it pains me to decline or to change plans at the last minute.

You deserve an explanation. 

If I had cancer or a heart attack, you'd probably understand. 

But I have a disease that people deal with every day - asthma. No big deal, right?

Well, I'm been to the ER with chest pains three times now. They think it is asthma-related.

My allergies sometimes keep me home.

I cannot go in a home with a cat or ride in a car with a person recently around a cat without a serious allergy and asthma attack. Dust often sets off my asthma, too. And don't not try cleaning right before I visit! That stirs up the dust.

I get side effects that make me sick from the very medicines that make me well.

After an asthma attack, I am homebound for a couple of days, worn out and with other unmentionable side effects.

If I take steroids (the normal treatment for inflammation), I get extremely high blood pressure and TIA strokes. I also don't sleep for a week or two.

Caring for a chronic illness is a time suck.

I have constant appointments to keep me healthy.

In the last week, I had a nuclear stress test (which takes all morning and leaves you very worn out), an allergist visit along with a lab visit for a blood draw, an extra dental visit (required because the inflammation that comes with asthma flares and the extra bleeding from aspirin to prevent strokes means an extra teeth cleaning each year), and a visit with the ENT (due to nose bleeds from the meds I take for my allergies).

I had to go to the pharmacy three times.

I had to call my doctors twice and my insurance three times.

I had to check my lung capacity (pictured above as noted in my planner) twice daily, take meds three times daily (one a half hour before food, three with food, and seven at night), use nose spray and eye drops and apply cream to my septum.

I have to work out daily. With strokes, skipping movement is simply not an option.

I have to cook my meals. Weight loss is important to symptom control.

I still have a job, kids to care for, and a child who is homeschooled with a chronic illness (epilepsy).

So, friends, I sometimes don't have time for you.

It's not personal. I love seeing you, but I need some grace if I have an attack or run out of time.

I hope you understand.

Please share this with your friends if you have a chronic illness. They need to know you love them, even if you have to miss out on friend time occasionally.


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Jaime Barfield said...

Dealing with that must be stressful and very time consuming. I am sure the friends that truly care, understand that you do what you can. Good luck and I hope the symptoms ease up.

Quilter 57 said...

I shared this in my Facebook page as I too am asthmatic. I thank the Lord that it is well controlled at this time but still desl with the side effects of meds, sinusitis, allergies, etc, and suffer fatigue from it all. Some of my friends don't get it since you look fine, for the most part, on the outside. Thank you for this thoughtful and clearly written post! I hope you find the right combo of meds and can have some relief from your symptoms.

Carla said...

Thank you for your informative blog posts and videos. You’ve shown me ways to capture lost (more often, wasted) time. Time to do the things I need or want to do to make my life run more smoothly. Things like taking care of myself, time to spend with my family or friends. That is truly a luxury.

Anonymous said...

True friends and family will understand. You should never ever be made to felt as if you have to explain yourself. You do what you need to do and take care always :)

Anonymous said...

I get you totally. I have severe asthma with adult premature baby respiratory syndrome. Which is basically copd caused by premature birth. So I totally understand. Big hugs and thank you.