Chronic Illness Research Paper

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Missing so many days of school you lost count. Feeling isolated from being too sick to attend classes. Hospital. Homebound. Pain, swelling, extreme fatigue. Wheelchair. Coughing up sputum to be measured and evaluated. Chest PT. Insulin injections. Pumps. Stomach cramps and endless trips to the toilet. Does this remind you of your life growing up? NO? Most of us don’t describe our childhood or adolescence this way. For far too many children and teens, though, this WILL bring back memories of childhood and growing up! Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is challenging for anyone. However, children and teens with chronic illnesses face unique challenges that most people their age have never even considered. The term “chronic illness”…show more content…
How can you help? There are numerous ways to help change the stigma associated with chronic illness - especially in young people. For one, realize that just because they are YOUNG does not mean they can’t be ill. Furthermore, realize that the disease process in children and adolescents isn’t just a miniature form but has its own pathology or course. Young people are affected very differently than adults with chronic illness. Children and teens are more resilient than many adults - you may see someone with juvenile arthritis, for instance, in a wheelchair one week and then see them riding a bike or swimming the next. However, being able to do “normal” activities from time to time does not mean they are well - or cured - it simply means they feel well enough that day or week to do what they enjoy. One of the best ways you can help, I believe, is to be empathetic. Empathy doesn’t mean sympathy. Feeling pity for children and teens that face life with chronic illness isn’t helpful. However, imagining, to the best of your ability, what it might be like and then responding as you would want someone to respond to you, can be very…show more content…
Imagine everyone in class giving you weird looks, or worse yet, making fun of you for coughing all the time, spending too much time in the bathroom, or because you need medical equipment. Imagine how many times you'd have to tell someone that they can’t “catch” your illness. Imagine anxiety so severe you can’t make it to school for an extended period and, even when you’re doing better, you’re too afraid to return because of all the questions the other kids will have. Imagine dating - do you tell them right away? Do you wait? How long? Imagine wanting to go to your favorite university but, it seems doubtful because the campus is so big, and you’re not sure you can attend classes enough to make passing grades. Imagine wanting to get married or have children - how do you manage the stress on your body, or allow yourself to marry someone who will be at least part-time caregiver? Imagine losing friends and even family members because THEY just can’t handle it?! You can help by being

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