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How To Deal With A Loved Ones Illness- Feelings and Chronic Illness Etiquette

Updated on September 19, 2016

Chronic Illness Is Hard On Everyone

Try to help them understand
Try to help them understand

Dealing With Chronic Illness

This is information to help you know how someone who is chronically ill feels about you and this is basically a How To Guide to help you out. It's important you know how to respond whether you are the one reading this who is sick, or the one that is dealing with an ill friend or family member. This information can go both ways

If you are the one who is chronically ill or you have a friend or loved one that is chronically ill, this information is not to hurt anyone's feelings. This is to simply guide you and let you know how to deal with the ill loved one and give you tips. I will let you know how to know when it's okay you drop by and visit and so on. Please read this with the understand of this to be with good intentions, and not to hurt anyone's feelings whatsoever. This will really help you understand how to deal with the situation and not leaving after a visit to your friend thinking they don't want you around or what have you.

Stopping By To Visit Someone Who Is Sick

Source

Chronic Illness Etiquette

If you have a friend/family member that has a chronic condition that might require a phone call before a visit, then don't be afraid to pick up the phone and ask. Let me tell you first hand, they won't feel obligated nor will they feel offended. At most, they will feel like taking a deep breath and thinking, "Oh, thank God they called first." Reason? Well, when you just "pop" in on them to see how they are feeling, they feel a little overwhelmed for one. The house may not be up to par, or they may be sleeping or just don't feel good that day. When you come unexpectedly, (Even though you stopped by because you care or just want to see how they are doing or need anything, which is a terrific thing to do and they know it!) they feel obligated to sit and visit and don't want to push you out the door.

Now, for those of you that are sick and need to know how to respond to those who just "pop" by and you feel obligated to sit and visit or your house is a wreck or you just feel like crap that day and don't want to visit.

A Messy House is A House That is Lived In

A Messy Home is a home lived in, so just be thankful you have a home to live in whether it's messy or not
A Messy Home is a home lived in, so just be thankful you have a home to live in whether it's messy or not

Helpful information for the one's who are sick

  1. Don't feel ashamed of your house! You are sick and they know it and don't expect your house to be spic and span

  2. Invite them in with a smile and let them know you are having a bad day and they are welcome to sit in the living room with you on the couch while you lay down and talk. (also, even though you don't mean to, it gives them the sense of maybe they shouldn't stay long, so it kills two birds with one stone without hurting their feelings)

  3. It's okay to tell them you really need to take a nap or whatever you need to do. Again, after all, they know you have a problem and they came by to see you regardless of your condition, so it won't hurt their feelings.

  4. Finally, when they walk out the door, thank them for coming and thinking of you but make sure to speak up and ask them nicely to please call first the next time and you will be better prepared for their company. Believe me, they will feel better next time coming over knowing they are really "wanted" and not feeling like they've made you feel worse by coming over

Effects of Being Ill

Chronic conditions and it's effects
Chronic conditions and it's effects

Feelings

It puts a huge strain on those that don't feel good or sick half the time because of their illness. Moreover; it makes us feel like a heel when you come over and are sitting there looking at us like we don't want you there or something. It's a horrible feeling to us knowing that we were not good company. When you leave, we either feel like we mistreated you because we really wanted to visit and see you, but you just came at a bad time because it wasn't on "our terms," which sounds selfish and I don't want it to sound that way. "Our terms" isn't meant to sound like we are demanding or insensitive. It means that WE are sensitive to YOUR feelings and we do not want to hurt them.

It's not that you have to make an appointment, and it's not that you are interrupting us that are sick. Please understand that a phone call to pick up the phone and say, "would you like me to come over later and see you and what would be a good time for you?" means the world to those who are chronically ill or have some sort of health problems. Even if you call and say you would like to come over sometime this week, would give us some sort of notice to either prepare mentally, physically or do whatever we have to do to just visit for an hour.

Chronic Illness Takes It's Toll

Man with Chronic illness with a visitor
Man with Chronic illness with a visitor

A Few More Things You Should Know About Stopping By To Visit

This may sound a little contradicting, but please don't just totally ignore us either because you are afraid to bother us. I know it really doesn't make sense after all what I just said, but there is a happy medium, and it's really not up to you to find it, it's up to the chronically ill. We will let you know subtly, when we don't feel like company. So, DO call us before you come over please! Don't assume we don't want you there. If you have health problems, you really do get sick of staring at four walls all days long, but there really isn't much we can do about it, so someone stopping by for a cup of coffee is more than welcomed, but again, unfortunately it has to be at our convenience and not yours. Sorry to be so blunt, but I'm trying to help you.

It was pointed out to me, and I do want to clarify one thing: That is-This article is for Chronic Illness or health problems. If you have a loved one that is terminal or is very sick in nature; no need to make plans. But maybe check to see if they are up to a visit.

You may read about a Cancer story that is close to me here. Cancer was not found on a pap smear. Very important information for all women .You may read the story at My Cancer Story.

Lovely Video From Some Who Has Chronic Illness Speaking To Their Family About It In A Lovely Way

Poll For Those With Chronic Conditions

Just Curious as To Who Likes A Phone Call Before The Visit

See results

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    • LaryssaGeorge profile image

      Laryssa 2 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks for sharing. I love this hub and have illness myself. Helping everyone learn is important to me as well. Great Hub!

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 4 years ago from Central USA

      You are welcome and thank you for your input!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 4 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      If I could add something here ... My mum said she loved it when two different friends came over because even though they made the cup of tea they chatted and made jokes like they always had done.

      She always felt happy after these visits. tired out but happy. So if you go and visit a friend or family member with a cronic illness try to bring some sunshine and laughter with you. Having people sit there morbidly really does bring the person your visiting down.

      Thanks for writing this

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 4 years ago from Central USA

      Let me say, you are doing a "great" job! Do NOT feel guilty! You are there and are offering to help, and are helping! It is not your fault in any way, shape or form! Take it from me, I am the one who has health problems and wish I had a friend like you! I lost all mine due to sickness-I know it's my fault mostly because I don't want them over because I feel like a nuisance-You are great, a wonderful friend, and I wish I had you around. Bless you for what you do !

    • profile image

      Marie 4 years ago

      I feel like I don't do enough for my sick friend. However, when I call, I feel like her husband is annoyed and then when I don't call, I feel like I am not making an effort. It is such an emotional rollercoaster. I need some advice. My best friend is Stage 4 cancer and is doing o.k. and I help with her daughter because I want to but, I also have my family to take care of so, I do the best I can. He asked me to pick up their kid and I said "I will when you need me because my daughter gets off the bus and your daughter gets picked up and I got a 20 min time span to get your daughter from when she gets out to when the bus is at my house and I get scared that my daughter is going to be waiting there so, I wish I could offer that more but, I can't but, if you could get your daughter out earlier I will sometimes" He said " You do drive slower" and he laughed and he's like a brother but, it bothered me because why can't he just say "O.k." I know he needs help but, I feel I am not good enough sometimes in helping. I offer to have their daughter over, I offer to do groceries, I go see my friend in the hospital, I call every few days- I do the best I can and I see a lot of their friends and family hardly do that much but, it is not my business and I feel the one that is not good enough when maybe some of them need that treatment. Does that make sense to anyone out there? Please help. I am not boosting about what I do- because I love my best friend, I just feel guilt and I am so sick of being guilty for everything.

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      yes, good point on the don't look sick remark. I have said that to people are dying of cancer, (but I didn't know that) and the look and comment back made me feel like a heel

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      thanks sunshine! I already linked yours to mine

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      Thank you Sunnie..I just read Jackie's comment and I guess I do need to change my article some to people that have chronic conditions and not terminally ill. I am not sure if her parents had a terminal condition, but either way, she has a valid point.

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      you do have a valid point Jackie. This information was more geared toward chronic illness, and not an illness that is terminal. I really am sorry for your loss and you are so right on your points. I am sorry I didn't make it totally clear on the illness. Thank you for your story and commenting.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I took care of my mother and father until they died and I can't tell you the shock it was at not only not having loved ones come by after promising and promising but they did not even send cards, flowers or anything and who cares after they were dead? I suppose that was show for someone since the dead cannot see. I sometimes wonder if most people are so cold hearted they just write someone off as dead as soon as they hear they are dying. I almost thank God for the ones who are not in their right mind to know how quickly they are written off. Maybe I am coming at this from a different point of view since I would have been the only one put out by any visits and as hard as it was for me to keep things readied for promised company that never showed up, I always encouraged and welcomed for the sake of the dying.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      Wonderful hub with great advice. Thank you!

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      I linked yours up as well

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      P.S. I'm going to link this hub to my Cancer Etiquette hub, that way both of us could be heard at once!:)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent hub Weezy with some very valid points! Thank you for writing this. I'd like to add: Never, ever say to a person who has a chronic illness "You don't look sick!" That comment is not a welcome one. No one but the patient has any idea the battle that's going on within the body even if they look fine on the outside. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us.

    • weezyschannel profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      Thank you and I meant every word of it. It's heart breaking when they leave after just "popping by" and knowing as if they felt mistreated or unloved. That's not the case. Unless you are chronically ill, you'll never understand. That's why I decided to write this. Thanks again

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

      This is a wonderful, and much needed article. So many people will visit once and if things don't go as they expect they seem to feel it's best to just stay away.

      Everyone appreciates knowing they are cared for and chronic illness is isolating enough without feeling that you've been totally forgotten.

      I enjoyed your hub.

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