Invisible Ghosts

     When Nobody Knows 
     Because Nobody Sees 
These are the Sorts of Things that Somebody Says
and Somebody Does 
  • "It's so hard when everyone thinks I'm goofing off. When I get tired, my heart doesn't work too good, and sometimes I just look off into space. That's when my teacher gets mad at me." 
  •  "When I was in third grade phys. ed., I was trying to do the endurance part of a swim test. My chest got so tight from my asthma that I was having trouble breathing. The gym teacher couldn't even tell. He just kept calling, "you can do're almost there." Finally I just sunk, and then I got rescued. I'm really afraid of the water now!" 
  • "When I turned nine, I got this awful illness called 'myalgic encephalomyelitis'. Have you ever heard such a big word before? It's also called 'chronic fatigue syndrome'. Well, the hardest thing about it is that even though it makes me feel terrible, with awful headaches and no energy, people don't believe that I'm sick. They think I'm just faking. It's mega tough to cope, because I can't even explain how I feel..."
  •  "I've got this problem that doesn't show at all. I don'thave spots and my hair hasn't fallen out. When my headaches get bad, I feel like pulling my hair, though, and everybody thinks I'm being a wimp. They don't know what it feels like, and don't believe me when I tell them it's like someone hammering on my head. "
  •  "I had all of these aches and pains, but lots of doctors couldn't find anything wrong, so most everyone stopped listening to me. It was so frustrating. Then finally I had this one test that showed I had something called lupus. At least it was a relief to know that I wasn't crazy." 
  • "I have asthma. It was hard at school when my gym teacher thought I was just not being diligent when I was stopping every few minutes. I felt like slapping her in the face when I told her what was wrong and she didn't believe me. I felt so bad. It was even worse when we had field day at school and I could not participate. It was really annoying to have every one calling me lazy when I could not participate. I was really mad" !
  • "I've got cystic fibrosis and nobody knows but me, and of course my family. It takes me about two hours to do my treatments and take my medicines every day, but even then I don't think about it. I just want to be like everybody else, and I am!" 
  •  "I grew up being allergic to lots of chemicals...'so what's the big deal...just stay away from them', kids would tell me. Of course, the only way to do that would be to lock myself in a sterile room!" 
  • "I have something called Crohn's disease, and am forever running around at school, looking for an empty bathroom so that no one will hear the diarrhea. When I have bad cramps in my belly, it's tough to explain why I'm absent from school, even to my friends!" 
  • "Asthma consumes a big part of my life.  In P.E. I can't even breathe and have to stop to rest.  The kids don't laugh because they know what's wrong with me and understand.  Often times though in run-around games such as tag I get laughed at because I have to keep stopping to catch my breath and only catch the slower ones." 

  •         Do you have a story to tell about an invisible problem? If
              you do, I hope that you'll mail it to me in this envelope! 

    Can't wait to hear what you have to say

    Tap the moon on his chin, and you'll be whisked over to the site map!

    I am NOT made of cheese!

    Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
    Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
    Bronx, New York 10468
    Last updated: November 14, 2004