Nancy Mairs On Being A Cripple Summary

1251 Words6 Pages
Elsie Newcombe
English 101
Professor Costello
27 September 2015

What if Invisible wasn't Invisible?b

“I wish I had the luxury of being sick instead of having to go to work every day.” (Copen[CNN]). But for so many people being sick is their full time job. Imagine waking up every morning and being just as tired as the night before, imagine taking a shower and being down for the count— when you live with a chronic illness this is a day to day normality. Living with a chronic illness is exhausting. But, people still wake up each day and go on, some as if nothing is wrong. Many chronic illnesses are also invisible to untrained individuals. When most people think of a disability, they think of someone in a wheelchair, someone who walks with
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Nancy Mairs, the author of “On Being a Cripple”, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative neurological auto-immune disease. In her essay Mairs writes how in the end her life did not really change all that much. In fact aside from banging around the kitchen a little more often and being slightly more clumsy, her life was just great. Her family was supportive, and she was able to easily come to terms with her disability, she was able to move forward with her life needing only minimal adaptations. And that is just great. But so many other people would disagree so strongly with her sunny disposition, after being robbed, by fate, of the life they had worked so hard to make for themselves. Mairs says in her essay, “I am not a disease.” (213) but living with an invisible illness is consuming. It eats people alive. Invisible illnesses cannot be seen by someone who doesn't know what to look for. In a Huffington Post article Lisa Copen, founder of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and Rest Ministries, explains “I see diseases now, as I have become familiar with what ‘invisible symptoms’ look like.[…] I see the way a women who steps ask the cashier to open a jar of spaghetti sauce, so she can go…show more content…
Healthy people have a desire to be able to see what is wrong with us, so they can say ‘oh-h-h, now I understand’.” (Copen). Unfortunately friends and may not always understand that they are not looking for pity, or being melodramatic. Sometimes it is just to much to expect friends and family to understand that when someone with an invisible illness is crying because she can’t button her shirt or tie her shoes, it’s because she is frustrated, not because she's seeking attention. It can be hard for many to understand that when she is in the emergency room complaining of unexplained pain, that she isn't seeking drugs. No one can see what is going on in her body, no one can feel what she feels. The first step to understanding someone else’s invisible illness is accepting that it cannot be understood. Next, be there to support her. She just wants someone to listen to her concerns. While no one can possibly know exactly what she is going through they can be sympathetic to her plight. They can take steps to make her day to day life
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