Archive for May 10th, 2011


Angry bowel pyxies and the people in your life.

In February, I wrote about coping with some of the symptoms which are shared by Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel syndrome and Colitis.  I however, missed one very important factor of coping with a long-term, chronic illness.  Helping the people in your life to cope with your illness.

A little story perhaps will illustrate.  I have a wonderful adopted little sister, (I in fact, have four but I’m speaking about the youngest, most kittenish of them here.) and today she was upset by my illness or more precisely, by the idea of my being in pain.  In her work, she saw images, of the damage that can be cause to the human body, by what is wrong with me.  The end result, was a lovely phone call, so that she could tell me she loves me.

My partner, yes that’s right, the grandmother of the Force of Nature, she also lives with the day-to-day  implications of my illness.  So too, to a greater or lesser extent do my mother, my other adopted little sisters, the Force of Nature, most of my friends, etc.  And they all react in different ways, each in keeping with their own strengths and weaknesses.

But the Kittens phone call today, made me realise that just because they know, just because they deal with it in their own way, does not erase my responsibility to help them cope with my health.  After all I’m the only one who can explain to them what I’m going through.  The only one who can tell them in a comprehensible way how they can help.  I have to be the one to make sure, that when there is no need to worry, they know.  Though stopping them worrying is beyond my powers.

This is something I understand well.  My partner is diabetic, so I worry constantly about her blood sugars, about whether she’s eaten a breakfast and of course whether her foot will be dropping off anytime soon.  This despite my knowing, that there’s really not a lot to worry about.

Regardless, when you suffer from a long-term illness, you need to educate the people who love you.

They need to understand:-

Why sometimes don’t show up for things.

Why you seem to eat exclusively in certain places.

Why you act really odd sometimes, when you’re in public.  Well odder than usual in my case.

They need to know that sometimes you are, actually alright.  It may last for only a few hours, but that in those few hours everything is great.

But most of all they need to know that their concern makes you feel loved, and so, feel better.

I’m not going to write a list of helpful hints on this.  There aren’t really any.  You will have to take each relationship as it comes and act accordingly.  I will say this however, never forget that those who love you need reassurance from you, every bit as much as you do from them.

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