You Might Have a Chronic Illness If . . .
Many people experience generally good health and their concept of being sick means having a cold or perhaps catching the flu every one or two decades. Then there are those of us who live with chronic health issues. Our concept of being sick is multi-faceted and does not just include our bodies, but extends to involving our families, friends, jobs, finances, hobbies, and major life decisions. Although I’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis/rheumatoid disease (RA/RD) for 18 years, I’m often struck by how different my reality is from those of my friends and relatives who don’t have chronic health issues. There are so many small ways that disease pops impacts my life that I’m sure are familiar to other people contending with chronic health issues.
You might have chronic illness if. . .
- You’ve memorized your pharmacy’s phone number.
- Your calendar is full of doctor’s appointments.
- You can easily recite the insurance copay amounts for routine care, specialist appointments, and ER visits.
- You’ve injected yourself with medication.
- You have a collection of splints and braces.
- You’ve met lots of interesting people in doctor’s waiting rooms.
- Every year, you take out the maximum amount allowed for your medical flexible spending account.
- You spend the entire annual allocation of said medical flexible spending account by mid-year.
- You have a definite preference for where blood draws or injections are done on your body.
- You see specialists more often than primary care providers.
- Completing a medical history questionnaire requires a lot of time.
- IV infusion visits are your routine.
- Your friends and family members get frustrated with how often you have to cancel plans.
- Light exercise can be a struggle.
- You use all your allotted sick days.
- You need extra room on medical forms that ask you to list all current medications.
- You feel older than your years.
- People make random suggestions for how to “cure” your medical condition based on something they heard about in passing.
- You make job decisions based primarily on health care coverage.
- You consider genetics when deciding whether to have a biological child.
- You have apps on your phone for tracking medications, symptoms, and procedures.
- When shopping, you consider the ergonomics of a potential purchase.
- Pharmacists know you by name.
- You own a cane or other mobility devices.
- You buffer in a “rest day” when traveling and upon return from your trip.
- People say, “But you look so good” when you share your diagnosis.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? What else would you add to this list?
When was your last flare?