seven types of sick patients.

I’m going to go ahead and lay it all out on the table right now.

I am the worst caregiver, ever, in the history of caregivers.

I have a sympathy cap, and it maxes out at 48 hours. If you’re still sick after two whole days, I just can’t handle you anymore. Heartless, right? Be glad you’re not married to me.

Once upon a time, Brett was sick for eight days. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT DAAAAAAYS.

I almost lost my mind. We went to urgent care twice, the ER once, and the local CVS basically once a day for eight days. All doctors told him the same thing: let it run its course. I was basically single parenting for eight days in an extremely dirty house. Cue: panic attack. Don’t get me wrong, I felt bad for Brett (of course), but I felt bad for me too.

Over the weekend I was chatting with some girlfriends about my lack of caregiving skills and we all got to talking about how our husbands act when they’re sick, how we act when we are sick, how our kids act when they’re sick, etc. I started thinking about how we all like to be taken care of differently when we don’t feel well. Regardless of what type of sick patient you are, I think we all can agree: being sick is the WORST.

And with that, I give you:

Seven Types of Sick Patients –

1. The Isolationist. You like to be sick alone. You don’t want anyone to see you, touch you, talk to you, or bother you. Being sick means lying in bed binge watching TV shows on Netflix while you nap on and off all day. You are low maintenance, and only require jello and working internet to feel better.

How to care for them: Leave them alone. Make sure they have their laptop charger nearby. Keep the jello cups comin’.

2. The Self Diagnoser. You like to diagnose yourself with rare diseases from WebMD. You can spend hours researching medical websites and various forums before confidently diagnosing yourself with a condition you can barely pronounce. You look to the internet for advice on how to get better, and follow everyone else’s success stories to a T.

How to care for them: Nod along. Tell them how unfortunate it is that they have that weird condition that you cannot pronounce either. Say things like, “Gosh, what did we even do before the internet?!”

3. The Wallower. You believe misery loves company. When you are miserable, you want your whole house to be miserable too. You forego the bed in lieu of the couch because you want people to witness your illness. The sound of children’s laughter burns your ears. You refuse to believe that life can go on around you when you feel so terrible.

How to care for them: You can’t. Just do your best. Leave the house as much as possible.

4. The Complainer. If you’re not verbalizing your pain, it’s not actually happening. You average 12 complaints per hour, and that’s on a good day. You describe, in detail, everything that hurts you, over and over and over again. You update your Facebook status on the hour to keep everyone in the know. You take multiple instagrams of chicken noodle soup and tissues.

How to care for them: Say things like, “I’m sorry.” and “I believe you.” Repeat. Leave comments on their chicken noodle instagrams.

5. The Overachiever. Sickness is for the weak. You’d never let a cold or stomach bug keep you down—you have too much to do! You go to work anyways, fold your laundry anyways, exercise anyways. You push through your misery until you’ve showed it who’s boss.

How to care for them: Stay out of their way. Sneak vitamins into their breakfast smoothie when they’re not looking.

6. The Natural Healer. You don’t believe in medicine. You believe in essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and hot showers. You turn your nose up at drugs and would rather visit an acupuncturist for your illness than see an actual doctor.

How to care for them: Support their choices. Load up their Netflix queue with health documentaries to validate their decisions.

7. The Baby. You need everyone to do everything for you when you’re sick. You need help eating, drinking, getting dressed, turning off the light, finding a book, replacing the fallen blanket. You are incapable of taking care of yourself, and morph into a toddler when ill.

How to care for them: Check on them once every 60 minutes and refill snacks, water, books, blankets, and anything else they might need. Shut the door and pretend not to hear them for another 60 minutes. This is the only way to retain sanity.

What type of sick patient are you?

p.s. Brett is slowly but surely feeling better and I had my house professionally cleaned yesterday so WE’RE ALL ON THE MEND NOW. Thank you for your well wishes.
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17 Responses to seven types of sick patients.

  1. caprice says:

    LOL!!! I too can only handle a few days! Can I add one? The “In Denial-refusal to believe they are sick” patient. When it is clear that the patient is really really sick but will deny it at all costs and refuse all types of medications, treatments, suggestions to go to the Doctors. Instead they take up occupancy in the main living area of the house and are completely miserable especially when you ask them for the 100th time to go to bed and rest. If you have any suggestions on how to care for this type, I would be so THANKFUL! Glad to hear that Brett is better-we had the flu go through our house (even with two being vaccinated)…it was a rough couple of weeks for us too.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Yes!! Pretty sure my husband is number seven when he’s sick–thank the Lord he is not sick often! When he has a cold I refer to it as a Man-cold, because Man-cold’s have a whole extra slew of symptoms that ordinary people’s colds don’t have. Thanks for your tips and tricks–feel better!
    Elizabeth´s last blog post ..Fastest Breakfast on the Planet

  3. Pingback: Seven Types of Sick Patients | But I digress...

  4. kat says:

    This is just so funny and so true. Like you I am THE worst caregiver, lacking any level of sympathy. Terrible. I know. I’m 100% ‘Overachiever’ married to a 50/50 ‘Complainer’/’Baby’. How we’ve survived this many years of marriage and sickness is all God. 🙂

  5. lacey says:

    i am TOTALLY an isolationist. thank heavens. my husband, on the other hand, is a mix of isolationist and baby. that’s fun to deal with. c;
    lacey´s last blog post ..03.26.14 | UPDATE, AGAIN

  6. I’m going through this right now with my sick grandparents! It’s really tough to be around sick people ALL of the time. Drains your energy!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures´s last blog post ..My Feature In Four Magazine

  7. kelsey says:

    This is so good! I’m an Isolationist with a hint of Natural Healer 🙂 Now I think I need to find out what Eric is…
    kelsey´s last blog post ..Web Gems // 34

  8. Michelle says:

    Ashlee, this should be required reading at pre-marital counseling. It would have saved us a lot of arguments in our first year of marriage. Who knew people like different things when they’re sick.

    P.S. Do you find the man cold video? Here it is…

    (yes, my sweet husband gets man colds…I had a lot to learn)
    Michelle´s last blog post ..Project 52: My Town – The Pila and The One Thing in Guatemala that Drives Me Crazy

  9. Jen says:

    the real question is, what kind of sick is Brett when he is sick???

  10. Melissa says:

    I am just cracking up right now. 48 hour patience cap is about the max for me as well. Then you’re on your own bud. Buck up or go rest, either way, I CAN’T hear about it any more. Then, the funny thing is, I think I talk ALL about it when I’m sick. OOPS!
    Love this. Thanks for the post!

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