When People Ask If Being Out of the Hospital Means I'm Healthy Now

After a long hospitalization and missing the first two weeks of spring semester, I can honestly say I have never been so excited to go to class. I craved social interaction from peers and not medical professionals. With my backpack filled with feeding tube and IV fluid bags and pumps along with school supplies, I finally walked into class.

I was greeted by smiles and hugs from my friends and professor. I was surprisingly unprepared for the line of questions I got. People asked me if I felt better and if I was healthy now. I should not have been caught off guard, as these are common questions. The people asking these questions were well-meaning; they were concerned about my well-being.

These simple questions have complex and complicated answers. I have already accepted that I have a chronic illness and will never be healthy or cured, but those around me do not always understand this. My acceptance has allowed me to live my life to the fullest and continue pushing forward without waiting to get better. One example is the fact that I’m still in college instead of taking a leave of absence since I know a year won’t make me better. Yet, it’s hard to say that to others. Many people do not understand my acceptance and think I’m being pessimistic.

As many probably do, I mostly just say of course I am better, without adding I am only marginally better than when I was in the hospital. However, I have also been more creative with my response this time around. If someone asks if I’m healthy, my current favorite response is health is relative, which really just deflects the question.

I realize there is no good or easy answer to these questions, and I will probably hear them again after my next ER trip or hospital stay. But for now I will just hope that does not come for a while. I do know it is a when, not an if, but I am OK with that because I will continue to make the most of the time in between crisis.

a woman next to a monitor in the hospital

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Other

To the 'Spoonie' Parent in the Store Who Feels Like a Failure

Hello there, fellow spoonie parent! I see you over there across the crowded grocery store. You’ve got an electric scooter cart and your child is helping you get something off the shelf, and you believe people are staring because they’re judging you and you can feel their laser eyes burning holes in your flesh… yes, you. [...]

To the People Who Offer Prayers to Change My Daughter’s Appearance

OK, folks. It’s time for a PSA. My infant daughter has a large “birthmark” on her face called a capillary hemangioma. To be specific, it’s about five centimeters by six centimeters. It is usually the first thing people notice about her. How do I know this? Because it’s usually the first thing people comment on. [...]

The Incredible Team Who Gave My Son’s Short Life Extra Meaning

Like many people, I’ve never meet a celebrity, and odds are I probably never will. But my husband and I have met several people who have become personal celebrities! I never expected to meet these people, but I’m so thankful I did. I had no idea what an incredible impact meeting them would have on our lives. I’ve previously written [...]

5 Things Not to Ask Me About My Visual Impairment

I live in India and have albinism. While that attracts plenty of questions of its own, it’s the ones about my visual impairment that I usually find more difficult to answer. Particularly these: 1. “What do you see?” It’s difficult to explain. And the answer often depends on a range of extraneous factors like the [...]