A VIRTUAL REALITY(ish) Experience Of Life With Chronic Illness

Try a brief walk in these shoes...

virtual reality of chronic illness The Visuals You Need/Shutter Stock

Life with chronic illness is weird.

Even though I've been chronically ill since I was an infant, I can never predict what pure amount of weirdness will be thrown at me next.

What medication side effects will I have to put up with next?

How do I help my friends and family who aren’t going through this better understand my life?

This isn't to say everything is bad. It's definitely not.

It will, however, provide you with endless unusual stories to tell. There was that one time I sat next to my best friends in a DC emergency room holding a urine specimen in my hand. Or the one time where I had to ask a medical student to be removed from my case because he had blacked out drunk on our date years earlier.


Ah yes, fun times!

There is something unique about having a life that always keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.

Maybe you’ll meet a wonderful significant other who will cuddle up in a hospital bed to watch TV with you.

I know what people will be like at my best, but what I can never tell is how they’ll be when I need to cancel plans or can’t stop crying because Prednisone is evil (yet also wonderful).

Being chronically ill also lets you into a secret special group of things only others with chronic illness inherently know — the “we didn’t choose this cool kids group.”

It doesn’t have to be serious at all times.


I think a lot of the time, the best way to cope with strange circumstances is to laugh.

I will do my best to let you in on the realities of life the chronically ill posse knows best.

(I can’t, however, get into the details of our secret handshakes and other rituals as that may go against membership rules…)

1When dealing with the side effects of medication.

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2When doctors go into an in depth description of what is going on during your appointment.

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3When taking Prednisone feels awfully similar to a Jessie Spano-esque meltdown.

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4When asked what you like to do on weekends.

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5When people around you are sick.

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6Sometimes you have a bad day.

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7Which makes you really appreciate the good days.

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8When you have a great doctor who listens.

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9When people assume you must be dying.

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10When people ask how you’re feeling, but they really don’t want to know.

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11When having to explain to someone you’re dating.

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12When people ask if you’ve heard about the latest diet that will apparently cure you.

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13When people say “but you don’t look sick."

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14Having to take medication at a social function, or needing to use some visible medical device in public.

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15Hoping your new doctor looks like this.

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16Waiting in the waiting room for over an hour past your appointment time.

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17When people say “you’re brave” and they could “never handle a life like yours."

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18Your life may not be normal, but that’s OK.

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