From the moment she said “I have Ebola” and he gave her “that look” – the look of “what did I get myself into?” and “I’m not so sure about this all of the sudden…” – I knew that this SNL parody: The Fault In Our Stars 2: The Ebola In Our Everything (video below) really described trying to have a relationship when you have chronic illness.
I find that revealing my illnesses often garners the same response – eyes bugging out of the other person’s sockets, no longer wanting to really hold hands, rolling away from me while we lay under the stars (ok, I don’t lay under the stars, but people tend to distance themselves). For me it’s mostly the diabetes or the endometriosis or the PTSD or the eating disorders – the others come up over time. I can hide a lot of what I have but not forever.
When they see me prick my finger and blood going on a test strip, or when I pull out a syringe and draw up some insulin – they give me “that look.” For friends, it’s colostomy bags for crohn’s disease, or for some diabetics insulin pumps and continuous glucose meters sites, or some who need PICC lines and ports, or even just pulling out a huge pill box from a purse for the myriad of issues that plague us #spoonies every day. And these illnesses pervade every last thing we do.
Sometimes, others can deal with it and will accept it. But then health gets worse or hospitalizations are not a rare occurrence and they start “rolling” away. They start returning fewer and fewer texts, they don’t send as many “get well” notes, and, in my experience they finally reach a point where they come out and say quite bluntly “it’s just too much for me.”
Unlike Ebola, our diseases aren’t contagious but sometimes we are treated like we are to be kept at arms length, or farther. Unlike Ebola there’s no hazmat suits would have protected us.
In the parody they say – “Because being sick doesn’t have to be a life sentence.” Unfortunately for us, it is. Unfortunately for those with chronic illness – physical or mental – the parody could have easily been entitled:
The Fault In Our Stars 2: The Chronic Illness In Our Everything.