Disabled or not, at some point, everyone has to deal with finding a way to keep friends and family informed about an illness. Whenever someone falls ill or becomes injured, friends and family reach out to them. Those who are close come by or call a little more often. Others who we don’t see often start coming by or calling. While we welcome the company and phone conversations, it can be overwhelming. I have been known to hide when I spotted someone I know in the grocery store. And all because I didn’t want to discuss my health.
Over and over again, we repeat the same conversation. We answer questions about our conditions, how we feel, our prognosis, and so on and so on. It is emotionally draining, not to mention depressing. You may not think it is so bad if this has only happened to you a few times, but imagine this… You have a condition that is chronic or terminal. You are either sick or injured and cannot be cured. Your injury will worsen or you will become sicker until the day you die. Your health becomes the focus of all conversations for the rest of your life!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my Disney obsession if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with Pixie dust and Mickey pretzels. It’s a win for everyone. I am not a medical professional, and nothing stated in this article should be mistaken for medical advice…
What we want
Before I continue, I want to be clear that I am in no way suggesting that friends and family should not call or visit. Nor am I insinuating that the sick or injured person doesn’t want to share this information with you. However, my tips below can help make your visit a pleasant memory for the both of you. By following one of the following methods, friends, and family can keep up to date on health issues, enjoy conversations like they did before the injury or illness, and further discuss current health concerns. As I said the point isn’t to not ever talk about the injury or illness, it is to not have the same conversation hundreds of times.
How to keep family informed about your illness
The way to do this is through mass notification. By sending updates to your friends and family, they will already know the answers for the most their most common questions. This brings the conversation back to what it should be, an exchange of thoughts and ideas between two people, not an interview. Health can still be discussed, but since they already have the basic information, their questions will expand upon a point or two, and few will have the same question. If you begin to notice that a particular question keeps popping up, you may want to consider adding that to your updates. One thing friends and family may want to discuss is what content they want to be shared. Figure out what you are comfortable sharing while also considering some other popular questions. Will you just share stats, dates, data, etc..? Or will you be sharing your feelings too? And how will you share your updates? Here are my top 5 suggestions.
1. Mass email. Pretty much everyone has an email address, even Great Grandma. And if for some reason Great Granny doesn’t, have someone else relay the information to her. Depending upon the severity of the situation, updates could be sent out daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. By replying to all, friends and family can all ask questions, see the answers, and eliminate repeated questions.
2. Mass text. Like email, everyone has a cell phone. The only problem with texting is that you have limited character space to share your information. However, group texts are great in times of urgency.
3. Create a secret Facebook group. Keep only those you want to be up to date with posts and pictures. Everyone can converse, your answers will be visible, and you curb that dreaded repeat conversation.
4. Group Skype calls. Depending upon the frequency of updates and whether or not you want to type or express yourself in writing, a group Skype call may be your best bet. Designate dates, times, and agreed-upon length of call. Start each call off by answering the most common and wanted information. Then, if comfortable, share your feelings. Lastly, open the conversation up for questions. You could always attempt a normal conversation, but with a group, it will be harder to make sure you relayed the most important information when you have random questions being thrown at you.
5. Blog. That’s right, start a blog. Even if you don’t want to share your life with the public, start a blog. Password protect your blog to only allow who you want to see it. Blogging has made my life so much better in regards to not having to repeat the same conversations over and over again. Read my piece for Healthline to see how sharing has helped me.
Remember this, the injured or ill person doesn’t want their updates to replace visits or calls (if you do, be sure to state so in your update), and we do want to discuss our health with you. What we want, what we really, really want, is for our time with you to be special.