Sick Humor: The Top Ten Worst Suggestions Commonly Given to Someone With a Chronic Illness

Many tell me that I “don’t look sick” – I’m grateful for that. But they give me a suspicious look, thinking that maybe I am a hypochondriac or lying. It’s not empathy or understanding, it’s a look of suspicion.  That is what hurts the most.  No matter how I look, no one understands how hard I’m working to keep my head up, and a smile on my face.

Sometimes you just gotta have a sense of humor! And I really need it now…

The top ten worst suggestions commonly given to someone with a chronic illness:

1) Have you tried doing aerobics? (Often, especially when I can’t get up from bed. I’ll bring it up with my doctor on my next visit, thanks.)

2) Could it be your stress? (My opinion is, it is my illness. Do you know better? I’ll bring it up with my doctor though, thanks.)

3) Could it have to do with the altitude? (I’ll bring it up with my doctor…thanks.)

4) I read in {insert any generic magazine here} about a new medication. Have you heard about it? (I was on it when it came out 17 years ago. but I’ll bring it up with my doctor. thank you.)

5) Have you thought about being in a trial study? (I’ll ask my doctor. thanks?)

6) WOW. If I were you, I don’t know what I would do. I might just kill myself. (Thanks?)

7) Have they found what is causing the problem? (no. my doctor is an idiot. I’ll remind him, thanks!) 8)

9) Have you tried hypnosis? (I’m still sick, but when the phone rings I bark like a dog.)

10 Have you ever thought you were getting sick because you haven’t wrapped your house in aluminum foil because, you know, the aliens have been bugging our houses for the past 30 years and in some cases, making people really sick. I read on…..gee I lost the web site. but it’s true! I heard it from Sally’s cousin’s sister-in- law. And then every time you use deodorant you would think you would be warding off these bugging rays, but it still makes it worse, so you are not being pro-active to your health by wearing that deodorant. I can’t believe you! If you wanted to get better you would stop wearing deodorant..(voice gets fainter and fainter the further you just walk away.)


Article written by Amy-Beth Maran , © 2007 (somewhat edited by me…)


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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2 Responses to Sick Humor: The Top Ten Worst Suggestions Commonly Given to Someone With a Chronic Illness

  1. Have you tried standing out in the rain, sticking your leg out at a 45-degree angle, and singing “I Did It My Way”? Just saying …

  2. martisima says:

    Good idea, but I can’t do it today because it is not raining. I’ll try it, although I don’t remember that song you mention …

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