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Nosy People's Questions

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  • Nosy People's Questions

    Hello everyone,

    I would like to get some input on how others deal with questions from people about their physical disabilities. I somewhat understand those questions from people that know you. What I don't understand are those from complete strangers.

    My MS is not widely known where I work. A few people that I work very closely with know, but not everyone. I don't want everyone to know because I fear it may hold me back from advancing in my career.

    It is very obvious that I have a disability due to the way I walk. I have been with the same employer for over seven years and have had MS for almost four years. So, there's been an obvious decline in my mobility.

    Almost on a weekly basis, someone sees me and what's to know what wrong with me. My standard response is that I have a problem with the nerves in my leg. Most people are satisfied with that. The others want to just keep asking more questions. This makes me feel very uncomfortable and I'm not really sure what to say.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many total strangers ask me what is wrong with me. Last week at the grocery store, an older man was walking up behind me and said, "No more skiing for you"! I chuckled and said, "That's for sure"! I then grabbed cart and headed to the deli. While waiting at the deli, the same man comes up to me and says, "So I want to know what's wrong with your leg". I figured since I didn't know him and maybe it would just shut him up, I said, "I have MS." He said, "Oh. So it affects your leg, huh"? I said, "Yes".

    I must admit, tact has never been my strong point. Most of the time I just come across as a bitch when faced with a question that I am uncomfortable with and don't know how to address. I feel like I just want out of the situation, no matter what the cost. (It's like I don't care what they think of me as long as they don't ask any more questions.)

    I know I'm not the only person with MS that get asked these types of questions. I would like to know how others deal with these types of situations.

    Any comments or suggestions are welcomed and would much appreciated.


  • #2
    Nosy answers

    Try: "Why do you ASK that?" Alternately: "Why do YOU ask that?" Or: "Why do you ask THAT?" If they are aggressively rude, you're free to be less hospitable, and these turn the question around in an interesting way.


    • #3
      Some "lady" walked up to me at Costco and asked me in a rude way what is wrong with me. I asked her in the same rude manner why she wanted to know. After she regained her composure she told me that she wanted to pray for me. I just said no thanks and walked away


      • #4
        Thanks for the suggestions and personal experience. I appreciate your replies.


        • #5
          My symptoms only really act up when it's been a long day and I'm tired or first thing in the mornings. I've had some people ask, never rudely. I generally just tell them. For me, it's not a secret. You'd be surpised if you tell them, you often hear stories of some other person they know with MS.

          Your last post made me laugh though. I'm not religious at all, more of an athiest. I do not believe there is a sole being that controls things and should be praised. One woman at a party said she would pray for me. My response was "If it makes you feel better, feel free." She got upset and didn't speak to me the rest of the event. Meh. Her loss.


          • #6
            Susan, you could also just say that you have a progressive, incurable disease and that doctors do not know exactly how it is contracted... and then step closer to them. Real close. I'm guessing they'll leave you alone in a hurry!

            People are naturally curious. I've gotten used to it and try to be nice when folks say "get well soon!" or "how did you hurt your leg?"
            Dave Bexfield