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

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virtual reality of chronic illness

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…)

When dealing with the side effects of medication.

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side effects

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

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medical jargon

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

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steroid rage

When asked what you like to do on weekends.

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chronic exhaustion

When people around you are sick.

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Sometimes you have a bad day.

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bad day

Which makes you really appreciate the good days.

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virtual reality chronic illness

When you have a great doctor who listens.

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virtual reality chronic illness

When people assume you must be dying.

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Virtual reality chronic illness

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

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chronic illness fake smile

When having to explain to someone you’re dating.

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dating with chronic illness

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

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chronic illness fad diets

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

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chronic illness perceptions

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

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chronic illness meds

Hoping your new doctor looks like this.

chronic illness specialist

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

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waiting room rage

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

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chronic illness back-handed compliments

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

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chronic illness what is normal


This article was originally published at BuzzFeed. Reprinted with permission from the author.