The Mighty Logo

Those of Us With Chronic Illness Need Flowers, a Visit and Support Too

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

The “get better or die” mentality that we sometimes talk about is ingrained in our society, so much that people often don’t quite know how to deal with chronic illness. People are used to the fact that you get in an accident or get a diagnosis, get treatment and either quickly get better… or die.

• What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
• What Are Common Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms?

You are simply not supposed to linger in sickness.

One person gets hit by a car, stays in the hospital for a week, and they get so many visits, well wishes and gifts they are overwhelmed by it all!

Yet when you have, like me, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndromeadrenal insufficiency and over a dozen comorbidities, you end up bedridden or stuck at home regularly — and people don’t seem to notice at all.

I’m going to have my fourth surgery in nine months in a few weeks. I was lucky, as it will have been as an outpatient each time. I didn’t get a single visit, card or gift, and not many words of encouragement online.

I’m not angry; this is not written out of spite. But I do think it’s unfair and mostly, I feel it’s something people should think about.

Why do we visit people in the hospital, why do we send them cards, balloons, flowers and little gifts? To lift their spirits, help them think about something else for a bit and show them we care.

Is the person recovering for weeks in the hospital more in need than someone recovering for months at home? Is the person in the hospital for a few days more in need than someone living with illness day in and day out, for years?

On the contrary! People with chronic illness (or with a long recovery after a surgery) need those visits and little tokens of care and support to boost their spirits just as much to keep fighting!

I’m not saying we should stop visiting people in the hospital or not send them gifts — of course not! I know how hard a hospital stay can be, and anything to help lift anyone’s spirit is important.

I’m saying people shouldn’t think others don’t need the help or energy boost, just because we are back home, because we are “used to it” or because we are living our regular, daily routine of being very sick…

In fact we just might need it more!

Getty image by Ponomariova_Maria

Originally published: November 12, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home