With friends like these, who needs a debilitating illness?

From a bewildered reader: “About three years ago I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder. I’m 45 and walk with a cane. I don’t drive any more. I can’t work.

“I can’t say enough about how supportive and understanding my husband and children have been. I wish I could say the same about our friends and extended family. They seem to have lost our phone number. When someone does call, they seem irritated if I say I’m still sick. It would be so nice for someone to call and offer to take me to the grocery store or just for a drive. I’m at home, by myself, all day. Everyone knows this and no one calls. Several have said to call if I need anything but the few times I have, it’s been awkward. Clearly they were saying it but never thought I’d take them up on it. My own mother doesn’t call. My husband and kids have had to take on so much more responsibility and no one calls to see how they are either.

“We are managing on our own but it’s hard to understand the almost complete lack of support. It’s like rats escaping a sinking ship. Except that neither my husband nor I think we’re sinking. And all the doctors agree we are handling this really well.

“What do you do when you find out your friends and family can’t be counted on when the chips are down? Are we expecting too much? And how do I explain this to my children?”


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