I’m Good….My Body, Not So Much

As a little girl, around the age of 5 or 6, my parents taught me how to answer our home phone.

I can still remember my answering script to this day. I would eagerly rush to the ringing phone and in my brightest, best grown up voice possible,  I would say:

” Hello, 1234567, can I help you?”

The caller inevitably asked:

” Is your Mum or Dad there?

My scripted response was:

” Yes, I’ll just get them, can I please ask who’s calling?”

My decorum and professionalism, at that young age, then departed as I ran excitedly through the house shouting:

” Mum, Dad, phone call…Mr/Mrs xx is on the phone”

Oh well, I’m sure the caller had a good chuckle.

The Professional Approach

That phone answering training as a little girl, really paved the way for how I would communicate in adult life.

In my business career the emphasis on professionalism and excellent customer service, further instilled that need to present oneself in an upbeat, positive manner.

Add in my own natural positive disposition and my default mode, no matter my circumstances, is to sound bright, upbeat and happy.

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The Real Picture

The other day my Home Care Liaison Manager phoned me to book some allied service home visits…Physio, OT, Podiatrist etc

I was lying on the bed as the phone was ringing, writhing in pain. My rare disease was doing its best to break me. New stress fractures in my pelvis, ankle and feet, on top of my existing non-union femur break and Rheumatoid Arthritis were all working against me.

On a good day my pain level is 5/10. When I’m waiting for my pain meds to kick in, the pain level is around 9//10.

I had only just swallowed my afternoon medication as the phone began to ring.

Thankfully it was right next to me on the bed. It’s really like an additional limb, a lifeline that I’m never without.

I was pale and feeling distressed with my pain levels, yet this is how I answered the phone:

” Sam Moss, Can I Help you?”…. (Insert smiling face and cheerful voice)

” Hi Sam, It’s Mandy, how are you?”

Hi Mandy, I’m good, how are you?”

I’m Good, How Are You?

There we have it! I could hear these words spouting out of my mouth.

” I’m good”

I could feel myself screaming internally……”No, you’re not good. You’re far from good. You can hardly breath from the pain and you can’t move”

The really stupid thing is that my caller knows that. There was no need for me to put on a brave front. No need to pretend that all was perfect.

So Why Did I Say ” I’m Good”?

I didn’t sleep well last night because of my pain and in the early hours of the morning I began asking myself this question.

My answer is two-fold:

  1. Conditioning – I’ve been trained from an early age to answer the phone in a professional manner and my career endorsed that model.
  2. Desire – I want to be that healthy person and in many regards I still see myself like that. Mentally, I’m good. Physically….not so much!

Body and Soul

There is a beautiful old hymn called ” It is well with my Soul”.

The first verse sums up exactly what I mean when I say “I’m Good…my body, not so much”.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

As a Christian, my faith helps me experience that sense of peace and it is well with my soul….no matter my circumstances.

My faith also convicts me that I need to be more honest and precise when talking to people about how I am. To say “I’m good”, is far from true.

If I said “It is well with my soul”, while accurate, it would sound pious and a bit ambiguous. Not really helpful for me or the caller.

So What Can I Say On The Phone?

When I’m talking to someone face to face it’s pretty obvious that I’m in pain. My eyes give it away. I’m constantly wriggling to try to get comfortable. My crutches are my constant companions and when I do walk I am clearly crippled.

The phone is so different though. Those visual signs just aren’t there.

So, I’ve decided the best approach for me, when asked how I am on the phone, is to simply say;

” I’m good….my body , not so much”

It’s honest, precise and if I need to expand then it opens an opportunity to do that.

Chronic Illness is difficult enough without us making it more complicated.

Keeping our responses to simple questions, short, sweet and honest, not only helps us manage our diseases better, it ultimately helps those who live and work with us and who care for us.

It helps others better understand our needs and situation.

So today if you ask me how I am, I can pretty much guarantee my response will be;

” I’m good….my body, not so much”

Take care

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

This post was shared at the Salt and Light Linkup Group

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

Lucy At Home

28 thoughts on “I’m Good….My Body, Not So Much

  1. Sam I’ve been thinking about you and glad you posted. Not glad to hear of the new fractures and never ending pain. I haven’t been on FB cause I’ve had no energy. Just know I keep you in my daily prayers. Xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Marla. I completely understand staying off FB to conserve energy. Look after yourself & feel free to PM me anytime. Lots of love xx 💞

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  2. Pingback: Pain Pals
  3. I love this because it’s exactly how I feel. I’m sure we are programmed to say I’m good when asked, I do it all the time, even if I feel like I’m about to drop with exhaustion and pain. I think I’ll adopt your saying too if you don’t mind. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d be delighted if you adopted my saying. I really hope it works for you. I’m still trying to adapt to it. Practice makes perfect though 😀

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  4. Firstly I hope your pain is better today!
    This sounds so like me too, not just on the phone but in person. I almost always reply ‘I’m good thanks’ or ‘I’m ok’ even though none of us are ALWAYS good and ok. I think it’s just conditioned in me. But also I don’t want to bother people or go into details. We should all try to open up a little more about how we actually are, physically and mentally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gemma. Yes I definitely think conditioning is a huge factor. “Putting our best foot forward” is how we are generally encouraged to behave isn’t it so it’s little wonder we all struggle with this.
      Thank you so much for reading. 💞

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Being Lydia! and commented:
    This is a very real and honest account of what chronic illness can do to a person. No matter the severity of our conditions, I think we all tend to “put on a happy face/voice” when asked how we are doing. I applaud Sam for putting it into words.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is my first visit Sam but it won’t be my last. Right now I am going through another battle with cancer (my fourth) since 1983), However, I want you to know that I am so sorry to hear about you having to live with such pain. I will include you in my daily prayers.
    My response when I am asked how I feel is usually “I’m hanging in there”. That way I don’t commit to good or bad. Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by. I am so sorry to read you are fighting yet another round with cancer. I pray you have strength for this next battle and victory over this awful disease.
      I’ve just started following your blog. Love and prayers xx

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  7. As someone who suffered with a Chronic Illness for many years (although unexpectedly cured now) and as a fellow Christian, I relate to so much of this. I always felt that so often those questions were throw-away conversations and I was supposed to answer “I’m good” but it felt so awkward saying it because I knew it wasn’t true. I think your new response is a really great way to cover all bases though and, as you say, it can either lead on to further conversation or not depending on the hearer.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

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    1. Thanks so much for your encouraging comment Lucy. I’m so pleased to read your now cured too! That’s fantastic.

      I haven’t heard of the Blog Crush Linky. Thanks for letting me know 💞

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  8. Such a great post on such a vulnerable topic, Sam. I have a chronic illness myself and am left very often with the “I’m good” statement myself, even when it’s far from the truth. Tweeted. 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Sarah Anne. It’s hard isn’t it not to just fallback on a bright and cheery “all is well” response. I think it’s something most people do without thinking really. Thanks for you comment and for sharing my post xx

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  9. Sam, I am right there with you. My response to people, whether face to face or over the phone, is that I am okay. To me, I just feel that most people do not really want to know how I am doing, so I keep things short, sweet and to the point. I guess it comes down to not wanting to be a burden. Hope you are feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I too don’t want to be a burden and have this inbuilt switch I think that says “must protect all others at all times”. I need to remember to turn that switch off every now and again. Thanks so much for commenting 💞💞

      Like

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