But You Don’t Look Sick!

So I went to play bridge at the Bridge Club yesterday as I do every Monday.  The opponent sits down and says,” You’re sick, aren’t you?”  I thought that was a strange question, but I replied, “I do have some challenges.”  She then says, “You don’t look sick!”

How am I supposed to look? What does “sick look like?”  I am still trying to figure that out.  Having MS for 12 years and Parkinson’s for 2 years(or should  I say “diagnosed”), doesn’t make me look different on the outside.  It’s the inside of my physical body that’s gone haywire!

i think doctors give chronic illnesses a negative overall picture to people who have and don’t have these illnesses. When I was diagnosed with MS and with Parkinson’s, both doctors told me that they had “bad” news for me.  They both said, “you have blah, blah, blah.  I am so sorry.”  It doesn’t matter what the names of the chronic illnesses are; the tone of their voices is not a happy tone!  They are dis-eases and life will not be pleasant from now on!  That’s what I inferred from them.  I am screwed and will have a unhappy life for as long as I live!  Whatever the “formal” names for these chronic illnesses are, negative thought about them were implanted in my brain!

What if the doctors said something like, “I have good news for you”!!   Maybe I would(and others with chronic illnesses) have had positive thoughts and a more positive attitude.  Maybe I wouldn’t feel so alone and depressed.  The fight wouldn’t be as bad as it is for me and others battling chronic illnesses.  I feel it must it must be a conspiracy by the pharmaceutical companies.  The reason being that I was immediately prescribed drugs to treat the symptoms and to prevent new ones.

I think that I probably had some of the symptoms for years before being diagnosed, but because a name of a disease wasn’t given to me, I was okay  I felt some symptoms but never dwelled on them. It’s kind of like the “placebo effect”.  As Wikipedia defines it–“A person given such an ineffectual treatment will often have a perceived or actual improvement to their condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect or placebo response.”

i don’t know why or how I was the lucky one chosen to have MS or Parkinson’s, but people out there, my life isn’t over!  I still am me!  I still love to look presentable.  I don’t like leaving the house without makeup,  I love pretty clothes!  I love shoes, purses, shopping and getting my hair done twice a week!  I think that I am attractive or so I’m told.  And, I am a very good actress,  meaning even when I don’t feel well, I won’t look it on the outside!

So, even if I’m feeling lousy because one of my many symptoms of my dis-eases presents itself in my physical body; I still smile when someone asks me how I am feeling.   My response tends to be more than not, “I am fine.  How are you feeling?”

I guess people don’t know what to say.  Maybe they think they are are giving me a compliment.  It really doesn’t matter. I think that if you haven’t experienced either of these chronic illnesses, you don’t know how to react to someone who does.