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How a Friend's Simple Text Let Me Know She Gets What I'm Going Through

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Being chronically ill in college comes with many obstacles. One of the hardest ones is avoiding “normal people” illness. Being an education major makes this even harder. I spend lots of time in elementary schools. It’s safe to say there’s always something going around. On top of that, no one ever wants to miss a class. My classmates come in sick all the time. One of our professor once came in and told us she had a low grade fever.

For me, this is scary. Let me give you a little history of what’s happened to me when I’ve gotten “normal people” sick while being chronically ill. In high school, I had a small cold that was only bad for a couple days but then triggered a joint flare, forcing me to miss multiple days of school. I ended up needing a completely new medicine regiment. The infection also backtracked my hip surgery recovery. A year ago, when I had a simple viral infection, my gastroparesis was triggered; now, I have a feeding tube. Without knowing this history, most of my peers think I’m crazy for never leaving my apartment without hand sanitizer and carrying around a travel-sized Lysol spray.

Most college kids don’t think twice about coming to class sick and don’t realize how it may affect those around them. So last night when I received a text from my friend starting with her saying she had a low grade fever, I assumed she probably was asking me to take notes for her or come over after class to help her catch up. When I woke up this morning and read the whole text with fresh eyes, I found out she was letting me know because while she couldn’t miss class, she wanted to warn me to stay away from her (we usually sit next to each other). She didn’t want me to get sick.

I don’t think she realized how much I appreciated that text. Not only did I avoid a bug but I also saw that she really understood my challenges.

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Originally published: April 8, 2015
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