Top Ten Things You Should Do When Someone Has a Chronic Illness

Hey, important person! Isn’t it crazy how the world doesn’t understand how things can be solved with the simplest of solutions? Sometimes things are so obviously fixable it makes your head hurt that no one has thought of it yet. So when someone you met that one time, that one place you can’t remember, turns up with a chronic illness, it is your duty to tell them exactly how to deal with it. Sure, you’re not a specialist in that field, but that actually makes you a better expert.

Here are the top ten things you should absolutely do if someone you kind of know has a chronic illness.

  1. Immediately help them pinpoint how they got it by bringing up their past.

Your facts may be loosely based on what you may or may not have heard about what this person used to do. Nothing helps a person cope like trying to link all their past mistakes, and or choices, to their current problem. Did they ever eat meat? Drink? Eat microwave popcorn? That’s definitely what did it. And you did just watch that documentary on Netflix that talked about how every single thing, everywhere in the universe, leads to this very specific illness. If nothing else, bring that up and insist they watch it too. It’ll give them a better understanding of what they have.

  1. Reference your relative that had it that one time and is now completely healed.

So this one time, your second cousin on your aunt’s side had the exact same thing the sick person you know currently has! What a coincidence! And all your distant relative had to do was consume a few oddly concocted drinks, and maybe get some medicine from the local version of Whole Foods. Boom! Cured! Since that worked for your great-second-cousin on your divorced auntie’s side, it will definitely work for ALL people suffering from the same illness. I mean sure, physiology, family history, previous medical history, current ailments and other medications aren’t going to change the fact that this universal cure works for everyone! EVERYONE!

  1. Tag them on social media in articles about how their doctor is definitely trying to kill them.

Those articles on Facebook written by that guy with sketchy credentials are a treasure trove of wholesome information. It has been absolutely proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that every physician, every single one, wakes up every morning determined to kill all of their chronically ill patients. It is an absolute fact that every physician is being paid off by big pharma companies to lie to all of their patients. Yep. There’s absolutely no medical doctor that became a doctor to actually help people and do any and everything they possibly can to ensure comfort and well being. Every real medical doctor just wants to push drugs; and it’s only the people without those pesky board certifications and medical degrees that know the real deal. Make sure when you tag that sick person you sorta know, quote that section of the article. Putting “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS!!!!!” also helps because all caps and an inappropriate amount of exclamation points mean it’s important.

  1. If it’s a parent dealing with a sick child, blame vaccinations!!

These parents and their silly beliefs that children need to be protected against things like Polio, Rubella, Whooping Cough, and Chicken Pox are being ridiculous. The reason why their kid is sick is because one of those vaccinations did it! You have proof! That website you pulled that information from is totally credible. Don’t have kids? All the more reason to bring up this fact over and over again. It can’t possibly have anything to do with any other contributing factors, i.e.  familial history, medical hi….you know where I’m going with this. It’s solely related to vaccinations. Which one? All of them. Send them a list so they know exactly which one. That totally helps.

  1. Tell them that this is all part of God’s plan/Question where “their God” is.

Your vague understanding of your own belief system is juuuust good enough to convince them that this is their destiny…or not…or whatever. Whether you believe this is a biblically proportionate punishment (because you’ve read bits and pieces of Job), or this is just proof of what you’ve been trying to tell people all along about the existence of the “man upstairs,” your sick person neeeeds to knoooow this!  Clearly their sickness is due to a lack of faith, or too much faith, or no faith, or  faith fairy tales, or just random happenings in the universe, or some kind of order you haven’t figured out yet, or a Hunger Games type of lottery system. What do they believe? It doesn’t matter. What you believe matters most. Which brings us to…

  1. Completely disregard their wishes and choices.

Have they foolishly decided to take or decline a certain type of treatment? Maybe they’ve decided for full medical intervention, or no medical intervention; either way, if you disagree with it, it’s wrong! Tell them this! The fact that they are trying to find their own comfort level is selfish! Maybe they thought they weighed all their options, but they’re not thinking clearly.  And this isn’t just about treatment, this is about everything in their lives. Have they decided that they don’t want any visitors? Go over there anyway. Have they expressed that they prefer not to talk about it? Bring it up! Do they want to talk about it? Completely avoid the subject matter altogether. Everyone knows that people with chronic illnesses aren’t that good at making decisions, nor are they the avid Google researcher that you are. That’s a skill only you possess. You’ve Googled this particular illness countless times! You know what’s best.

  1. Continue to reiterate that there’s no cure.

As soon as you told your friend who is in the medical field about your chronically ill quasi friend, the medical field person just shook their head. Sure your medical field friend works in medical records, but they’ve read a lot about this disease in everyone’s charts and it all leads to one thing…and it is your duty to tell that chronically ill person you kind of know. Did you find out they’re still trying to live their lives in spite of their diagnosis? How dare they! They should be home, in bed, waiting for the inevitable, while writing out wills and testaments. It’s time for them to get a grip on their reality, and you are the only person to help them do this.

  1. Comment on how tired they look every chance you get.

Did they just run their awareness 5K? Yep! You know this because you clicked or scrolled through the pictures while polishing off your donuts because you were lucky enough to catch the “HOT” sign. It doesn’t matter though….they look tired. It’s important that you inbox them to let them know how tired they look. Do you see them at work or at church? Let them know then too. You need them to know that you are acknowledging the fact that they are sick, because let’s face it, a chronically ill person wants to be reminded every possible moment of every single day.

  1. Offer empty help.

Can you cook a good meal? Can you clean a house better than any maid service? Can you babysit? Yes. Do you have time? Nope. It doesn’t matter; offer anyway. You know your schedule is crazy hectic, but that shouldn’t keep you from making promises you can’t keep. To make matters even better, pick a specific week or day and then never follow through. It’s not like the person would be relieved if you actually showed up. Right? It’s common for people like this to have back up plans. Them not having one is not your monkey.

  1. Let them know that it could be worse.

You get it! They have this illness. And every time you see them and you bring it up it’s like “me, me, me, blah, blah, blah.” OK! Sometimes people need to understand that they could be worse off than they already are. Sure they’re in pain; and sure their treatment can sometimes be uncomfortable, inconvenient and time consuming. But it could be worse. How much worse? Oh, I’m sure you can think of something. You did hear that story that one time about that person who was way worse. Heck, you’re pretty sure that other person died. So just tell them to “buck up, buttercup.” Stop complaining and start living…or don’t because, you know, number 4.

Trust me, if you do all these things for people who are chronically ill, they will be so grateful….


-Danita LaShelle

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mari Hinckley says:

    Omg, thank you for this!


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