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People asking if you are feeling better.

gaj399ggaj399 Posts: 270
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Chronic Pain
Sometimes when friends ask if I'm feeling better, It just makes me more depressed because the only answer I can give them is NO! I know that they really care and are hoping that my answer is going to be that I'm doing better.

I'm very lucky to have a good support group of friends and family that help me with chores and things around the house, but depression has become my most frequent visitor. I know they all mean only the best when they ask about my health, but at times I just wish that they'd just not ask, even if just for a week, so that I could at least pretend that things are getting better. When they ask it brings it right back to the forefront, and the depression just smacks me right in the face again.

The beast in the room just doesn't want to leave me alone. I have a surgery coming up to replace my shoulder, which has been deteriorating badly and was supposed to be done earlier this year until my neck decided it wanted to be first in line. And after all of that something still has to be done with my lumbar which has a herniated disc and a huge amount of scar tissue. My surgeon doesn't want to repair the herniated disc because he thinks most of the pain is coming from scar tissue and he can't do anything about that.

guess I just needed to vent a little, pretty much just feeling sorry for myself.

Hope all are having relatively pain free night.


  • It bothers me when people ask that also. Sometimes I just say I have a few better days here and there just to change the subject. I dislike when my Mom says I hope you got out for your walk today. Even after I left a message saying my knee was bad after my fall and almost went to the hospital to get it drained. I find I feel angry when she says that but what to do?

    I don't have any close friends anymore so I guess they mean well? That's a tough one! I hope you feel better after your shoulder surgery though. I know the back pain is daily though. Hugs. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • is my ortho surgeon won't do the shoulder replacement until I have complete fusion in my c5-7, so I'm going to have to live with the shoulder and back pain for probably another year, and that's if everything goes perfectly.

    Needlessly to say it's hard to be the life of the party when you're it constant pain. My doctor has offered to increase my pain meds whenever I think I need to. I've been trying to put off more meds as long as possible, because I know I'm going to be on them for a long time, maybe forever, and I don't want to become tolerant to quickly so that they don't work any more.

    I hope your knee feels better soon, we have enough pains without adding more!
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Thank you for asking.

    (No more - no less)

    It works well!!


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • So sorry you are getting such feelings from those close to you. I get it, I really do. I know for me, I stopped saying "bad neck" or "bad back" many moons ago, as "EVERYONE" understands not only a bad neck/back, but they have the bloody cure, and don't get us! Well, even before I was Dx'd with Myelopathy (damage to the cord), I just told them that I had spinal cord issues, and are working with my doctors to reduce the pain...add function etc. That tends to shut the "experts" down... (G)

    My family now knows I have yet another surgery and this one is to stabilize and stop progression, but what I have is "what it is, it is...."

    I think much of it is how you describe what is going on with you to them, but too, such that they can't trivialize it!! Eg... "Oh, I have a bad back too, I hurt like hell if I golf 18 holes..." Oh please!!! So I guess what I am trying to give you for a take away is, don't give them a parallel to make your issues small - obviously they ARE NOT!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • See, I look at it differently. I think people ask in that particular way because that actually do care and perhaps are projecting their hope onto you. (If they didn't care, they could simply say, "How are you?" to be courteous and move right along without waiting for an answer.) A lot of people get flustered at this, feeling that they're being steered into giving an answer that isn't quite true, or that someone is telling them in effect to hurry up and get better, already. But surely not everyone's intentions are to add insult to injury...

    I also don't believe that people must be able to empathize in order to have compassion and, yes, sympathy.

    Not everyone can walk a mile in my shoes, but expressing the hope that they fit without pinching too too much, that's something a caring person can do. So why not let them? We all need to care and to connect, don't you agree?

    For me I found it takes too much energy to feel so testy, energy that I just don't have anymore. I've been through a lot in this life, and my physical pain is simply one of those things. I want to be/become a happier person, and for me this means that I choose not to assume the negative instead of the positive. I'm a work in progress. :)
  • I have a lot of people, my friends of course, who ask me if I'm doing better or how my spine is doing. They seriously care and I also have a standard answer of "Some days are better than others." But sometimes they really want to know more details and I'll tell them, for instance in my situation right now, that it's my busy time at work and it's killing my lumbar area. Then they reach for a chair or offer theirs to make sure I'm comfortable.

    I agree with babybubbles that many people genuinely care and that's why they ask. You can usually tell when they really want to know how you are and when it's just a standard question. I don't play it down for those that really care and usually say I'm ok or the other standard answer to those that are just asking in passing.

    It comes down to who's asking and if you know they really care how you're doing, at least it does for me.


  • I think when we are asked most of us get irritated because we want to say yes I feel great and we know we can't. I do believe people ask you that questions sincerely and with all good intentions. Finally I had to say to my mom who would call everyday or stop over and say how are you feeling any better...and my husband who would text in the morning and come home from work asking were you ok today... I said stop freaking asking please, you guys know it sucks I complain constantly about everything, I am so miserable I can not stand myself, so stop asking ... when you see me having a good day say wow your doing good today, but when you know it has been a bad day just let it go.
    I have noticed almost everything everyone says bugs me lol ... I have had pneumonia for the past two weeks which has made it even more awful, especially when my mom stops and says boy you look like crap and when my husband doesn't hold back and says the same thing .... my fault I told them not to ask questions they already know the answers to .
    Whenever some one else asks me a person I am not real close to I say I am living and thats it ...
    Have a great week :)
  • You all get "it". Living in our shoes is not easy and we all figure out how to deal with it in our own way. Sometimes those we love and care about don't get it. They want to help take away the pain and they want us to feel better. Some understand and some don't.

    Those that are not close are almost easier to answer, because I just say something like,
    "I'm still on the right side of the dirt". That usually takes the conversation away from their stubbed toe that hurts worse than any bad back!

    It's the ones that really care and get it that are hardest to answer, because they would know if you just say you're better to appease them, because they can tell when you're in pain.

    I think my problem at this point is not with those asking the question, it's with the depression that we all deal with. I've always been a very upbeat sort of guy and lately depression has got me by the ankles and won't let go. So this is really a problem not with what others say, but with what I'm dealing with.

    Thanks for all your support, you can't believe how much it helps to read these boards and see how others deal with the same problems.
  • HI, I didn't read everyone's response but I do understand the sinking feeling when someone asks "how do you feel? Is your back better?"

    I hate that question but at the same time appreciate it b/c it means someone cares.

    I never want to say good, b/c that is misleading and they won't understand that it's really not. I don't want to say, not good because that's misleading too.

    So, I've learned to say "What can I say. Better than it was, not as good as I had hoped for".

    This answer seems to work. The people that want to know more ask. The people that were hoping for the quick answer, accept that one and move on.

    Hope that helps.
  • I was asked at least 10 times if my neck and back were better. My standard answer tonight was "not really, but recovery from spinal surgery is a long process. This answer must be a good one because I did not get even one person comparing their stubbed toe to my neck and back. Most of the people at the function were only aquaintences, so that was pretty much the end of the conversation. One friend said he was glad that I was able to attend, if even for a short time. It seems that he might be the one that understands and gets it. He also was right there when we left to say good night, even though it was pretty early and we were the first to leave.

    They had folding chairs! How can anyone, even someone with a good back sit on those things? I have yet to find one that was even remotely comfortable.

    I guess that's my new rant for today, why can't someone make a comfortable folding chair?
  • Whenever someone asks me about my back I give them the standard answer, "I'm pink, warm, upright, and mobile." That satisfies those people who ask as a matter of common courtesy. For those few who really want to know I'll give them more specific information. Since I don't want to come across as whiny, I only provide enough info to answer their questions.

    Disability retirement
  • me of a line that my Dad would say when he was asked how ya doing today.

    His reply was "better then some, worse then others"

    That answer usually left people scratching their heads.
  • I generally just say "stable" OR "unstable" while walking away.

    No one yet has the nerve to ask what the heck I mean.

    I might point out that my real friends don't ask me that particular question any more unless I have been sick with flu or cold recently.

    WE all have to do what works best for us.
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