When you live a life with chronic pain and/or illness day after day, to say one is stressed is obvious. Only those of us who live with it know the degree of that stress. We reach out each day, in many ways to fill the many voids caused by this intruder. One of the ways we have of coping is to have a rich fantasy life in dealing with those individuals in our lives who are totally clueless as to what life is like for us. Please, allow me to contribute today by offering you a few quick comeback remarks you can use, whether out loud or as an utterance to yourself. Hope they help. Hopefully, they will at the very least help you see the potential humor in this way of life, particularly dealing with insensitive individuals.
Most of the time, those of us who live with chronic pain have friends and are related to individuals who try to understand why we feel what we do. They usually try but if they don’t even make the effort, it hurts. So many areas of our lives have changed due to illness and chronic pain we don’t really need another problem, but there is one I know each of us face. That is the insensitivity of others who don’t want to be bothered by our problems, don’t want to hear them and want us to revert to who we used to be. It is difficult to deal with relatives on the subject of illness because, 1) They’re afraid what you have may be contagious or in their DNA, also 2) They want to see you the way you used to be. No one likes change, including our families and friends. What? You thought you were the only one. Some individuals will often try a bit harder to understand your condition and the pain you have to live with but even they can say hurtful things. If you love them, forgive them. They know not of which they speak and do so out of ignorance.
I know each of us have run into total strangers or mere acquaintances who can say some ridiculous things to us. There seems to be an unwritten rule that we run into insensitive nitwits when we do not feel like dealing with them. Do we become one giant magnet when we’re having a down day or a rough time? Is there a sign on your back or mine that says, in neon, “Come one, come all, jump into my business and feel free to ask me rude personal questions about my health, my body and my private life.”
Quite often, unfortunately, relationships suffer from this degree of insensitivity exhibited by others, and we reach a point of exhaustion, frustration and yes, anger. Isn’t life difficult enough? I would like you to put tongue-in-cheek and join me as we explore the possibilities of smart-ass answers to rude, insensitive questions. I know we all think of remarks after the fact. If you find the term nitwits offensive or politically incorrect, we could call these individuals empathy deficient or empathetically challenged. Is that better? Let’s look at a few of the phrases they say to us so we can come up with replies that will stop their gobs and give us a chance to escape while they are trying to digest your remark. Okay? Shall we begin?
WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS GOING TO THE DOCTOR?
I tried to go to the doctor online but kept getting confused with Amazon and ended up with a basement full of cardboard boxes.
You should see my doctor…what a hunk. He looks just like Tom Selleck and Matt Damon rolled into one luscious man. That’s why I go as often as possible. And girl, don’t even ask me about those days the stirrups are pulled out on the exam table!
I like to catch up on my reading so I can preview the magazines before I steal them. I haven’t bought a magazine in years.
If you whine and carryon a bit, you can get a cherry sucker and if you throw a hissy-fit, you can even get a balloon…on a string. I’m waiting for Medicare to pay for helium balloons.
Oh, I don’t know. I’ve come to think of it as my home away from home where they always weigh you and ask you your age; does it get any better than that?
Only a trip to the laboratory can make it better, all those needles and those tiny little cups, oh my, the thrill of it all, peeing into your own hand.
WHY ARE YOU LIMPING?
I’ve got rhythm.
My underwear is too tight.
My underwear is too loose.
Oh, you should try it. If you walk slowly enough and carry a cup, people will throw coins in it.
I was just keeping my knees dry.
I get more wear out of my shoes.
The doctor told me my legs and hips will last longer if I limp.
YOU’RE NOT IN A WHEELCHAIR SO WHY DO YOU PARK IN HANDICAPPED PARKING?
Oh, it goes with the ensemble you know…the limping, the cane, etc.
Only the best people do.
Oh, my dear, don’t you know you don’t get burglarized as much parked this close to the entrance.
If we do have a problem, my husband can shoot the little varmints from the store windows.
The box out kids are much nicer to you when you’re handicapped.
You get wet walking from the back of the parking lot.
The parking spaces are bigger in the handicapped parking.
WHY DON’T YOU WORK ANYMORE?
Oh, as an RN, I got written up for lying down next to my patients. I could get away with it if I was quiet but when I asked them to “move over” they complained.
It was against the health code for me to crawl up the hall while making rounds. I kept dropping my medication tray.
Once too often, while on duty in the Emergency Room, I found myself saying, “So? You think you’re sick!”
I figured out I was spending more time taking my own medications than I was giving the patients theirs.
I couldn’t get out of the car when I got home after an eight hour shift.
BUT YOU DON’T LOOK SICK!
I know, it’s all inside trying to get out, better stand back a bit. This could get ugly.
While giving them a hug you say, “I don’t think it’s contagious but you’ll let me know?”
Oh, I know, my look is the result of fifteen plastic surgeries and an hour in make-up every morning. You should try it. I’ll call you with the name of my plastic surgeon; it may not be too late for you.
Didn’t I tell you. I’m bionic.
Maybe if you could give me a description of what sick looks like to you, I could give it a try. Oh, stand back, you know I puke without the least provocation.
MAYBE YOU THINK ABOUT IT TOO MUCH. JUST DON’T THINK ABOUT IT.
I tried not thinking about it until the accident. It involved a very sharp ax therefore my lawyer says I can’t talk about it.
I do believe in positive thinking but the first premise is staying away from negative people. I’m going miss you.
I tried going to a hypnotist and then Dr. Phil; but had to give up when it came to the witch doctor. All those feathers; you know… I’m allergic.
Okay dear fellow chronic pain sufferers, go forth and know you are fully armed with answers for most questions directed to you by nitwits, numbskulls and morons. Some of them are relatives unfortunately, some “used to be” friends and some are medical personnel. I hope you avoid all three. Please feel free to carry these handy dandy answers on your cell phone or you could also consider having them tattooed on some part of your body but that just means more needles and who knows, your list will probably grow. I’m old and don’t rely on my cell phone for much so I carry mine on a toilet paper roll and just flip it out when needed, you know kind of like Santa’s naughty or nice list? Good luck and go for it, either out loud or in your mind after you get in the car or out of the store. Some of these can replace those utterances you already make to yourself. I know you do because I do, too.