What to Say?

CA KateNovember 27, 2012

Mr DH has a progressive disease; in his case the worsening is usually very gradual. Since I live with him daily I don't see how bad he's gotten on a day-by-day basis. I have to think back to how he was on a specific date to recognize what I see everyday.

People frequently ask how he is and I don't know how to answer. Do I say "worse", or say, "He is OK" ? How do some of you answer the question to people who aren't particularily close to you?

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Many people are just being polite, because they don't know what to say, either. For most people, just say something like, we deal with it every day, or we're keeping going, or something else vague. Most people don't expect an honest answer if the news is bad, they are just acknowledging the condition, which is nice of them. And hope your friends ask, and how are YOU?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Sushipup is right, a noncommittal answer is best. "We're surviving" is another option. People are being polite and trying to show empathy and concern. But unless the opportunity arises to really "spill your guts," the best option is a vague answer that acknowledges the challenges you're facing but without any details.

I know it's awkward. I've got friends who ask about my husband. He has congestive heart failure, tires easily, so his activities are fairly limited. I get the question from well-meaning friends at church, wondering why he couldn't make it to a service. It's easy to say he has the flu or a horrible cold. It's much harder to try and explain how he got exhausted just getting up and taking a shower. So I usually answer with something along the lines of, "He's doing as well as can be expected." It satisfies the person asking but also allows me to keep some privacy.

Forgive me for not welcoming you to this forum in your earlier thread. It doesn't move quickly like the Cooking Forum or Kitchen Table, but this is a good place to get support, advice, and to just plain vent.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:21AM
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I say "He's fighting and doing his best."

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:48AM
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CA Kate

Shambo: thank you for giving me permission to vent. I've had a bad weekend with a prescription that wasn't being filled. Who to blame? The clinic personnel who have 'forgotten' before, or the pharmacy who just goofed again today with a second prescription?

Thank you all for your suggestions as to what to say to acquaintances.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Westelle, your experience with the prescription just reinforces the need for everyone, if possible, to have someone who's an advocate. You'd think that nothing could possibly go wrong with refilling a prescription. But think again! I remember handling similar battles with my mom. I guess the lesson is to never take anything for granted. Check, then double check, and then check again. The vigilance never ends.

Hope you have a better week.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:29AM
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It all depends on who is doing the asking... If it's his family ( none of which has called or come over in the five and half years since he broke his hip and had the strokes ) I'd tell them to come over and spend some time with him to find out for themselves... If it's anyone else it's much more civil... lol Usually, 'One day at a time, thanks for asking'; 'Taking it as it comes, thanks for asking'; 'As well as can be expected, thanks for asking'... That gives them an out to change the subject or, on rare occasions, to offer some help... But, there are some days when I just move my arm as if I'm pushing something behind me then change the subject... And every once in a while I'll say 'Well he's still breathing so I haven't killed him yet' with a wry smile on my face... LOL

Westelle, I really don't want to frighten you but messed up prescriptions are only the tip of the iceberg... As Shambo stated, "Check, then double check, and then check again. The vigilance never ends. "

The best thing you can do for your hubby is to take care of yourself, you can't see to his needs if you're not in good shape... Take any and all help that's offered, even if it's only to pick up something from the store... There are people out there who are willing to help but if you keep telling them no for the little things they won't be around for the bigger things... And don't be bashful about asking for help either, you're not Wonder Woman, you can't do it all... You can only do so much, as for everything else, delegate, delegate, delegate... And find something to smile about every day.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 4:03AM
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CA Kate

Rita: as I just posted in another thread -- I just recently (September) got in professional Caretakers for 5 hours 3 days a week, and I've just requested help for seven days aweek. Until September I could leave DH alone for a little while to make a quick trip to the store, and our DS would drive for 2.5 hours to come be with DH if I need a longer amount of time.... God bless him. I have to say it is a real pleasure to be able to shop at my leasure and not just race around and grab whatever was available.

I think I should change my call-name to "nolongerwonderwoman".

P.S. to all: Thank you all for your concern about me... I think you've all been there and done that.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 7:51PM
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I would just say, "Oh, he's not good... he's fighting colon cancer" when my dad was sick. Then answer their questions if they ask.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 6:25PM
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CA Kate

To some people I've said, "well, the first word of his condition is Progressive.", and then answer their questions IF they ask. However, it's very hard to describe what all is going on with him... which can change day by day.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:41PM
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I like your response Westelle.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:28AM
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CA Kate

One of my biggest problems is that they frequently ask me within hearing distance of DH. It sometimes makes answering very awkward. I think that he knows how bad he is, but I'm not sure how he feels about my talking about it to others.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 10:51PM
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"As well as can be expected."

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:26AM
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