We Don’t Need Your Magic Treatments

Before you try to offer medical  advice to your friends and family members this holiday season here are a few things to consider.

1. For those of us with chronic illness, being sick is our full time job. Most of us spend hours on the internet researching symptoms, treatments, and special therapies. We’ve tried countless different treatments, medications, and doctors.

2. When you approach someone with chronic illness,even with good intentions, and tell them that they just have to try this treatment that magically healed your brother’s uncle’s cousin, it comes across as very disrespectful. This is what it sounds like to them, “I don’t actually know any thing about this treatment, the cost of it, or the side effects, but it worked for this person, so I don’t know why you won’t try it.” Treatments are expensive, exhausting, and don’t work the same way for everyone. Nearly every treatment solution has a long list of possible side effects. When you jump in and try to control our treatment plan it can make us very frustrated.

Instead of insisting that we try your new found treatment option, try this:

1. Ask about our current treatment plan. Ask how it’s working for us and how we came upon it in the first place. Ask because you care and because you genuinely want to know, not because you want a platform for your treatment suggestion.

2. Ask us how we’re feeling. Again, genuinely ask because you want to know, not because you want to suggest your idea.

3. Offer to help. No, not with your treatment suggestion, but in our day to day lives. Ask if we need help cleaning the house, making dinner, or even just ask to come visit and keep us company. That kind of help is much more welcome and appreciated than unsolicited medical advice.

4. Unless you’ve researched the treatment you’re going to suggest, and know for sure that it hasn’t been tried already, don’t suggest it. If your friend or family member has had chronic illness for long, they’ve probably tried it or heard of it, and they don’t need you to remind them about how it didn’t work. There are plenty of other ways you can help.

Those of us with chronic illness don’t want your magic beans or your special potion. We want your friendship and we want your love. Kindness and consideration are the best gifts you can give to your loved one with chronic illness.

Let’s wrap this post up with some good ol’  snarky Chronic Illness Cat!

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5 thoughts on “We Don’t Need Your Magic Treatments

  1. Good post. As a nurse and someone who has many multiple chronic health issues, I constantly have coworkers, family, friends, acquantainces even recommending treatment options. Some of my health issues involve rare syndromes that they’ve never even heard of and I have undiagnosed pain, yet they see it fit to suggest treatment options. I don’t mind it so much when friends or family suggest it because I know they are just trying to help so I smile and nod and be polite. However, when my fellow nurse coworkers suggest treatment options to me it baffles me. I, as a nurse, don’t recommend treatment options unless it’s someone newly diagnosed with something and then educate them all about them. If it’s someone who has had their diagnoses for a long time I am well aware as a patient myself that a lot of patients are more knowledgeable about their conditions than the doctors themselves. Generally, I let the patient speak and have them educate me to make sure they are fully educated on it. Occasionally I learn a thing or two, which is great. So when my coworkers suggest treatment on my health issues it just makes me angry. It makes me think they think I’m not doing all I can do help myself get better, which any person who has a chronic illness knows is quite the opposite. Like you stated in your blog post we have to advocate and educate ourselves as much as possible. Everyday I read online about treatment options and just further educating myself and preparing myself for doctors appointments. So great post!

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      1. I’ve always considered myself a good nurse, helping people has been a passion for me since I was a little. It’s what I’m meant to do, but the one blessing of having multiple health issues is it’s honestly made me a better nurse. I don’t know my patients exact situations or exactly how they’re feeling, but I can somewhat relate and I really think it helps.

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