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Don’t you just know, one person’s rheumatoid arthritis is another’s “Oh, it’s just aches and pains?” Or, one person’s propensity to infection is another’s “Don’t worry, I only have a little cold, you can be around me.” Or, one person’s furry pet allergies is another’s, “Oh, really, no one’s every complained about Fifi or Fido before!”
Back when my high school class went on its class trip, my two roommates wanted to smoke in our hotel room. They knew that I had severe asthma, but, they thought, it would surely be all right for them to smoke if they brought along powerful disinfecting spray and used that to “cover up” the smoke! Oh, not so very, very much!
Yes, often, no matter how well we explain to other people what our situation is and what our restrictions and “special needs” are, others have their own – and very often downright uninformed, silly (or stupid) ideas.
What to do…what to do…
First, of course, we have to do what’s healthful for us. If we have to explain, again, we do that. If we have to leave the situation, well, we do that, too. (In high school, I asked for and was given another room.) Yes, it might create a “kerfluffle,” but, well, that’s life with chronic illness.
Second, well, we have to keep in mind that, although we know what’s going on with us health-wise, most people are just not “in the trenches” like we are. Try explaining lupus to someone who has no experience with it, and watch carefully for the eyes glazing over and confusion to set in. So, to a great extent, “spreading the word” wisely and well is, yes, up to us. How we communicate – and when and to whom – can make a huge difference in helping others understand and act appropriately.
Third, even if you are patient, kind, and very articulate, be prepared for someone to be offended. Fifi or Fido’s owner might still harbor the grudge against you if you hesitate to coo over his or her beloved pets. The cold-carrier might still think you are being anti-social for not coming close. And those high school classmates might, well, never “get it.”
But you? Hang tough, brother and sister. Keep the faith – and stay your course!
Blessings for the day,