When You're Chronically Ill, "Do Not Pass Go" Becomes Very Real
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Health and Wellness

When You're Chronically Ill, "Do Not Pass Go" Becomes Very Real

Whether it's mental illnesses or chronic illnesses or physical disabilities, day to day life is full of challenges.

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When You're Chronically Ill, "Do Not Pass Go" Becomes Very Real
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Dear Fellow Chronically Ill People; do you ever get depressed about how you just don’t have the same options as everyone else? Not even the choices?

My professor was talking about how he “roughed it” for a while during his younger years by semi-camping out in airports until a super cheap flight to somewhere opened up and he’d travel there on his own and bum around for a while before heading to the next place.

He directly said; “when you’re young, you can do things like that” and gestured to all the students. I was sitting in the front row, and I immediately thought; “no. I cant.”

Not only do basic physical limitations set in place by my less-than-perfect body prevent me from “roughing it” without hurting myself, I'm on two different medications, one in pill form that I take twice a day, and one in shot-form that I inject once a week. Even if I "roughed it", I'd have to return to the US once a month (at LEAST) to meet with a doctor and refill my prescription. Not to mention the hassle surrounding getting a 30 day supply of needles and pills through customs.

Oh, and the cost of those medications set me back a good amount. The cost of the appointments to get a refill set me back more, even with insurance.

His description for a “cheap” plane ticket (to another country) was $50. That was in the 1980s. Today it’d likely be more, but that doesn't matter. I couldn’t afford the $50.

Not to mention that as a chronically ill person, I'd need to find a place where I could safely exist, which means somewhere with accommodations, which knocks out most youth hostels (and entire countries).

My disabilities aren't even that "bad" (which is arbitrary but still). I have the use of all my limbs and no diet-specific restrictions, which means I can bathe and feed myself and walk around wherever I might be. I don't need to worry TOO much about whether or not there will be elevators, public restrooms, ramps, or visual/auditory aids, though the absence of these things can and will set me back. Overall, the thought was depressing to me. I can't even choose to drop out, run away, and be homeless, which is an entirely stupid thing to choose given all the privileges I've been granted in life, but my inner punk hippie finds the thought of becoming a nomad romantic. But I can't. I can’t say “fuck it”, take a gap year, and “bum around”. There are so many barriers chronically ill people face in every situation that you don't think about until you're IN that situation, or even just faced with a hypothetical. Whether it's mental illnesses or chronic illnesses or physical disabilities, day to day life is full of challenges. Anything beyond that becomes almost impossible to imagine.
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