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Just Health

El Jeffe's Avatar Picture El Jeffe – January 30, 2009 11:15AM Reply Quote
Just health.

El Jeffe – January 30, 2009 11:15AM Reply Quote
What a journey.

Jeff Cooper – January 30, 2009 12:03PM Reply Quote
Thanks for posting that, Bill. And great idea for a thread (too bad we need it!).

Dr Phred (Moderator) – January 30, 2009 02:48PM Reply Quote
owned by the mothership.
Not me, I'm in perfect healt...Arrrrgh.

John Willoughby – January 30, 2009 02:52PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
Mental health counts, Dr. Phred.

John Willoughby – January 30, 2009 03:07PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
Without directing this question at anybody in particular, what is the correct degree of commiseration for a serious illness? My dad's friend and business partner has had a remission into leukemia and has about a 40% chance of seeing 2010. It seems like all I end up saying, is "I'm so sorry" in many permutations, when my instinct is really to cry or make a joke about it. In a similar situation, I think I'd like humor, but due to the potential for grievous offense, I rarely indulge. (Well, I did tell my brother that we'd saved the game to disk so that we could restore him if his double-lung transplant went badly. But that was okay, he was weird, too.) I also don't want to force a person to talk about a condition that they might want to avoid thinking about.

Is "I'm so sorry" too obvious/overused? Is "Can I have your stereo?" too deeply sentimental? And what's appropriate after being the fifteenth person in the room (or on the Spork page) to voice? I mean, there's no original response left at that point but you don't want to sound like a freaking parrot when confronted with a genuine, heartbreaking situation.

If this post is offensive to any ailing Sporkers... I'm so sorry.

ddt – January 30, 2009 03:14PM Reply Quote
a friend whose mother had just died said to me that she was getting angry at all the "i'm sorry" comments. she'd rather they asked her how she, the living, was.


John Willoughby – January 30, 2009 03:26PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
That's good at one remove; I'll remember it.

El Jeffe – January 30, 2009 03:34PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
That is the question. For both sides.

My conversation as I ventured out since my last post went like this:

Me: Hi! I've got a package I need to pick up.
Mailbox lady (UPS Store): Hey! ...(gasp)... you look thin! Are you sick. I mean, I know you had cancer but have you gotten sick?
Me: No, it's just a struggle when they take out your esophagus.
Her: Well, you need to get BETTER!
Me: I am. I'm better right now than two weeks ago. THIS (State as you see me) beats the alternative (the cancer would have killed me).
Her: Yep.
Me: (as I turn back through a crowd of people now looking at me.) Have a good weekend!

Most conversations I have end with "I hope you get better (soon)" or "We're all praying for you" and stuff like that.

My favorite conversation was my daughter's 7 year old (boy) friend. I got home from the hospital, he came running up to me and just said "Well. How WAS it?". Just so honest a question. He's so cute.

Most guys(Men) try to say positive things like "Well, you're looking or sounding good!" And segue into more traditional manly discussions.

But, some people are truly 1. Concerned (and have TIME to talk) 2. Wanting to know more for themselves or another person 3. Have a similar 'war' story to share, and end up talking a lot of health/cancer 'shop'.

MY question NOW for me, is once I return to work, how will I answer questions? I really think my goal should be to minimize talk about it. Why? Because quite frankly I want to just be NORMAL AGAIN. I've had it up to HERE with my illness and recovery ruling my life right now. AND I want to make sure that they don't see me as a liability, physical OR MENTAL health-wise. Even though it's been mentally TOUGH and challenging, I don't think I can afford to show it at work. Just too easy to sever me, frankly.

I also think how close one is to the other person is KEY. If you're my sister, I expect a daily phone call and offer to pick lice out of my hair!!!! :)
If you're an acquaintance, just minimal "I heard about XXXXX, and if there is anything you can think of that we can do for you, let me know". Of course, I can't think of anything any acquaintance can do for me, really. I (should) already have those bases covered by family and some close friends.

I'm not sure any of this helps, but it's what came to mind.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2009 03:47PM by El Jeffe.

John Willoughby – January 30, 2009 03:39PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
It does. It seems to me that a lot of people are past wanting to hear about their own ailments. Especially from a**holes like me who happen to be, quite undeservedly, healthy.

Mighty Mouse – January 30, 2009 03:47PM Reply Quote
It is tough to know what to say sometimes.

If it's a friend or relative of someone I'm speaking to, I usually ask "How's he/she holding up?" (if that's appropriate, of course) and then ask how are YOU holding up and, again, if appropriate, is there anything I can do. If it's not appropriate, then I tell them they are in my thoughts and prayers.

If the person in question has the illness, it's pretty much the same: How are you holding up? How are you doing? I feel that's more of an open-ended question and gives them an out if they want it while still showing concern rather than just saying "I'm sorry".

One of my favorite Biblical quotes is in Job when, after everything that had happened to him, his friends came to see him. And for a long time they were just there and didn't say anything. Sometimes there's just nothing to say, but being there helps. Sometimes a hug, a squeeze of the hand, a look in the face is all you can do and all that's needed.

John Willoughby – January 30, 2009 04:03PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
Mighty Mouse
Sometimes a hug, a squeeze of the hand, a look in the face is all you can do and all that's needed.

All that was needed for a restraining order, in my case. That's why I need to modify my approach.

Dr Phred (Moderator) – January 30, 2009 04:18PM Reply Quote
owned by the mothership.
Try not sneaking up from behind before you do it.

El Jeffe – January 30, 2009 04:37PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
Hey, once on campus I snuck up behind this girl I knew, covered her face, spoke in a weird voice and said GUESS WHO?
(you see this coming)
Wasn't the girl I thought it was. But we both had a laugh. And she was cute.
I thought, then and there, that might be a good icebreaker.

John Willoughby – January 30, 2009 04:46PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
And, occasionally, a good knee-breaker.

Mokers (Moderator) – January 30, 2009 05:08PM Reply Quote
Formerly Remy Martin
Or ball breaker....

I am also bad with the illness thing.

My grandmother's sister in law, who I call my aunt, lost one of her daughters right before Thanksgiving, and this was after finding out one that daughter's son's had a (relatively treatable) form of lymphoma. I saw her for the first time at a holiday party and all I could was hug her and say I lover her and that I'll continue to pray that she has the strength to get by, but that was easy because she is religious so I sort of knew how she should be comforted. Plus she's family so I can hug her without too a lot of awkwardness. Just haven't figured out how to do it around acquaintances except to try and be sincere as possible.

tliet – January 30, 2009 07:48PM Reply Quote
Even discussing the subject of discussing health is difficult I find. As you describe Bill, you want to be treated just like anybody else; normal. But surely people cannot ignore the fact that you suffer and they want to show compassion. That's what I struggle with, when do you show compassion, empathy and when do you treat someone like anybody else?

stan adams – January 30, 2009 08:58PM Reply Quote
Well, in the unambiguously immortal words of Pete Townsend:

"It's sympathy not tears people need when they're the
Front page sad news.


No one respects the flame quite like the fool who's badly burned"

El Jeffe – February 09, 2009 08:10AM Reply Quote
What a journey.

tliet – February 09, 2009 10:38AM Reply Quote
You're better off baking a cake and eating it.

Just sayin'...

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