Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sensitivity training

Why do illnesses case normally sensitive people to develop open mouth-insert foot syndrome? Its one thing when someone gets the flu or a common curable malady with a nice positive outcome to be a normal person but when its a more significant ailment  like cancer, MS, diabetes, to become insensitive dolts?

I came across this column reminding me of the idiotic things people do and say when someone else has the ailment. I must say I am allowed to be cynical and idiotic when I am the one with the ailment. I am free to talk about odds, statistics, hair loss, but I will bring them up if I want to. No one else should. One of the 'perks' of cancer is being the one to choose the topics of conversation relating to my health. You can feel free to talk about other things - like your latest hot date, shopping trip, family vacation, run in with your boss, how your spouse and children are slowly driving you to insanity or some juicy gossip. You can also ask me about my latest doctor visit but if I choose not to discuss it, don't be offended. I'm just not ready to or there is nothing new to say.

I will never talk about battling, surviving, or being on a journey or being a warrior because those don't apply to me. I am not in a battle. I am certainly not taking on the label 'survivor', and my journey only takes me to doctor appointments with occasional detours to pick up a prescription or ten. A warrior? No, I don't have war paint, I don't feel the need to run around shouting from the tree tops about my latest win.

When faced with a person with a life threatening illness, think about how you would have a nice polite conversation with someone while paying attention to the hints and cues and not opening your mouth and inserting your foot.

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