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4 Ways I've Adapted to a Life With Chronic Illness

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As someone struggling with a chronic illness, we are sometimes forced to adapt our lifestyles. There are bigger changes, like mobility aids and scars from operations, which are the more obvious ones. And then there are smaller ones. The tiny changes we sometimes make to cope with daily living. Tiny changes that make a big difference.

1. I’m always 15 minutes early.

First off, I’m slow and tire easily. This means that finding a decent parking space is quite important to me, but sometimes that can take patience and time. Then there’s the fact that I’ll probably need to rest when I finally reach my destination (like a restaurant table) so I am more than happy to wait 15 minutes for my friends to show up because I get to catch my breath. I can’t be too early though, as that could mean that I am fatigued before my friends arrive. So through trial and error I’ve found arriving 15 minutes early to be the perfect amount of time for me to balance my impairments and my social needs.

2. I wear a watch.

As much as I love relying on my phone for reminders to take my different medications at different times, I also cannot bargain on not knowing the time at all times. For example, I need to keep track of the time passed from the previous tablet so I can take another dose before I show any new symptoms. I need to actively plan these things and a cellphone’s battery has just been proven too unreliable. Overdosing or skipping medication has serious consequences, some are grossly humiliating and some just gross. My watch also helps to monitor my breathing rate and heart rate when my cellphone battery betrays me, or even when it isn’t considered professional to constantly check my phone. Wearing a watch helps me to blend in and take control of medication time – what a treat!

3. I’ll call you on speakerphone.

Holding a phone to my ear for a prolonged time is actually a horribly tiring activity. I know this means that sometimes it might be difficult to understand me when you call, but in all honesty I prefer replying to text messages above phone calls any day.

4. While driving, I sit really close to the steering wheel.

No, it is not only because I am short. It also happens to enable me to rest my arms while driving. Every time I give someone a lift they always comment on how close I sit to the steering wheel. If you’re riding with me, just enjoy the extra leg room behind my seat and enjoy the ride, I beg of you. I am trying my hardest to fit in, not stand out.

An important part of adjusting to a life with chronic illness is adapting to your new circumstances. Sometimes our symptoms can limit us, but by compensating we can sometimes regain some form of normalcy. We can blend in a little more. The most important part is to never lose hope and always keep fighting. Life is beautiful.

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Thinkstock Image By: Viktor_Gladkov

Originally published: August 23, 2017
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