"How are you doing?"
This is a question that doctors and nurses often ask. 'Same as normal'- my normal, not a healthy person's normal. It's just the life I got use to. It's this life where pain is constant, and that's accepted because we have no cure.
When other people ask me this, sometimes I know they care. And that's great- I can't thank them enough and I'm very grateful to have them. I know that they want to hear good news, and sometimes I have it and I'm happy to share, but a lot of the time I don't. Unfortunately, it feels like they only want the good news, because otherwise everything is depressing. And I feel guilty that I can't give them the news that they want to hear, so I tell them 'It's alright.' It's not a lie because most of the time I can manage. Even then, I see the whole hearted smile fade a little bit because I didn't say 'I'm cured.'
Others really don't care. And that's fine with me, it's no different from discussing the weather with a person you don't know too well. I know when people can't be bothered, so I tell them I'm good and move on. But there are some who insist that others hear them ask me, so they sound caring. I mean, some even ask 'how's the arthritis?' And I always say 'I'm doing fine.' And they'll say 'that's good,' and move on. That's all, it's like asking the time of day. I'd rather give them an easy answer than let them know I'm having a bad day or week, because I'd rather recieve disinterest than fake sympathy.
And of course, there's another group entirely that asks how I'm doing. They are the ones who care so much and who understand because they've gone through it- either themselves or even through me. They are my chronically ill friends who I talk with online. They are the few family members who have seen everything I've gone through and try to understand. They are the friends who get it. They are the ones who matter most.