Living with an Invisible Disability 101: Infantilisation


‘Infantilise’. One of my favourite words. Happens to me all the time. Here’s just one typical example from this week.

A month ago my pharmacist went through all my medications with me to make sure it was up to date and nothing was reactive to anything else. Then three weeks ago I went through the list again with my GP.

A few days ago a pharmacist I don’t go to (because he doesn’t supply PBS prescriptions – ie. poor and ill people on welfare for whatever reason) called me about coming to my house to do a ‘medication inventory’. I presume this means going through my bathroom cupboards to see if I have a stash of out of date medicines and am taking them incorrectly.

Excuse me? I had to argue with him. I have, with the help of my doctors, been managing my Rheumatoid Disease for 37 years. I am not elderly, I have a Master’s Degree and I do NOT have dementia. I do not need some strange man coming into my home uninvited to tell me if I am ‘doing it right’.

Now fuck off and stop micromanaging me and treating me like a child!

Chronically Ill does not mean ‘stupid’, or ‘incapable’. It’s unbelievable to me that people who deal with the sick every day still need this spelled out to them.

(Btw the featured image is not my hand, it is from Wikipedia, but it is what RA often looks like. Being a nurse in my previous life, I was smart enough to strap my fingers in the early disease process to keep the joints straight, and to stop pretending it wasn’t happening and keep working with sore, inflamed joints. Otherwise my hands WOULD look like this.)