You know you have a chronic illness when…

– all your doctors’ secretaries know you on a first name basis
– the receptionists recognize your voice on the phone
– the doctor’s secretary knows when you last called and what you called about
– you’re the first person your friends in medical school talk to when they have questions about patient-doctor interactions or want more detailed descriptions of certain medical symptoms
– your pharmacist feels bad because you’ve come into the pharmacy three times in the last ten days
– your primary care doctor’s nurse not only knows you by name but remembers what you came in for last time even though it’s been over a week and he sees about thirty patients a day
– you have all your doctors’ numbers on speed dial
– people mistake you for a medical professional because you’re familiar with the lexicon of medical vocabulary
– you laugh when someone brings up the topic of time management
– you don’t know what medications you’re currently taking because it changes at least once a week
– you’re not sure whether or not a medical test/procedure has been done, but you have a 5 page summary of medical history available at your fingertips
– your students tell you that “it’s been a hard term” and your gut reaction is to laugh
– you’re the person people turn to during times of hardship, loss, rejection, etc, because it’s happened to you so many times
– you start scheduling your life around doctor’s appointments rather than the other way around
– you joke around with your doctors about their professional lives because you’ve spent so much time in doctors’ offices
– you lose track of whether you’re feeling better or just acclimated to being sick
– it’s not uncommon to wonder whether you should take a shower or go to class/church/grocery store/etc and decide to forgo the shower because you “showered yesterday”
– the first thing you learn is where all the bathrooms and elevators are in a building
– you pick your seat in any auditorium, classroom, or sanctuary based on your exit strategy
– you no longer use excuses for leaving early because it’s something you do every day; I have to leave now is sufficient
– you shop for pajamas and lounge-wear as a pastime
– a section of your wardrobe is designated “sick clothes”
– you dread the question “how are you today?”
– people tell you that you need to meet Dr. House
– you have a medical resume & you give a copy of it to every new medical professional you see
– nurses love you because you bring in calendars that chart your symptoms over time & the doctor can even have this copy
– one doctor asks if you’ve talked to the other doctor in person or over the phone (because he knows you probably have that type of doctor-patient relationship)
– doctors tell you that they hope to never see you again but to know that they are always here and available should symptoms persist or resurface
– you’ve become so familiar with a procedure that you start instructing the doctor how to do it without hurting you (and he’s not even a student)
– you laugh with the doctor because you sound like you know a lot of medical stuff but it’s only because you’ve spent so much time as a patient
– a doctor tells you that you’re one of his favorite patients and then qualifies it by explaining why (you’re a challenge, you keep good medical records, you ask good questions, you’re motivated, etc.)
– your medical practitioner is closing his practice and goes out of his way to help you transfer care to another specialist known to him specifically
– people come up to you at church and say that they think they’ve met you… and then they realize that it’s because your name has been on the prayer list for weeks on end

Just a few random observations from the drama of my everyday life.



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