If you haven’t noticed, lately I’ve been focusing my blogs on problems I had in college with chronic illness. However this week, I want to focus on a problem I still currently have…. Roommates.
If you have a chronic illness, you know that it’s hard for people who do not have an illness to understand what we go through. They don’t understand the physical or mental aspect of our illness. They don’t understand why we can’t get out of bed. And that isn’t their fault.
However, some of my roommates have been better than others when it comes to dealing with my illnesses.
My freshman year is when my symptoms started, but sophomore year was when I was the sickest. My roommate at the time knew me freshman year and was there for me at my worst. She never got upset with me
for sleeping, canceling plans, etc. She never asked if I had an eating disorder when I would have to go throw up after eating. She only showed concern for my well being, wanted answers as much as I did, and did her best to support me. To this day, she is one of the only people who understand my whole journey and everything I have gone through, because she lived with me at one of the sickest points in my life.
Junior year I got an on campus apartment with two of my teammates who also understood my illnesses. They were super supportive, asked questions to understand, and again never got upset when I had to cancel plans or lay in bed. They would go get gatorades if I needed them and overall were there to support me when I needed it.
Senior year is where things got a little rocky. I had a house with 3 friends. Two were guys and then two of us were girls. I loved with one of my best friends and her husband, so they shared a room and bathroom, while the other guy and I had separate rooms and shared a bathroom. The married couple was the best, they tried to make sure I always had something to eat if they cooked, even if that required making something else. They drove me to the ER and stayed in the parking lot on nights I was having bad flares. They brought me water and made sure I drank it when I was flaring. They understood what I was going through because my friend had cancer a few years prior. However, while they were amazing, the roommate that I shared a bathroom with was less than so. I had one rule, I liked the bathroom to be clean because as a person with IBD, I spend a lot of time in there. However, this seemed to be a hard task. I remember one time he left all of his business in the toilet without flushing because “it was funny and he wanted my reaction.” However, this was on a day where I was flaring and couldn’t hold
food down so I had to throw up in a smelly bathroom and flush the toilet before I could take care of myself. When I would go to the hospital, I usually wouldn’t make it home until early morning hours, and he would be upset that I slept all day and could not understand that just because I went to the ER, does not mean I am magically not sick anymore. He would get pissed if we made plans and I had to cancel, thought it was funny to try to sneak in foods I couldn’t eat into meals and not tell me it was in there (like breadcrumbs), and overall just was not supportive and made life more difficult.
Currently, I live in an apartment with three girls. I had to get my apartment very last minute so I did not know them prior to moving in. We live in a four bedroom town house where everyone has their own bathroom. Which I love! However, these girls really want nothing to do with me. Which might be because I am older than them and moved in mid school year, but still. When I was in the hospital and admitted for three days in January, they didn’t even know I was in the hospital until I walked into the house with my mom and was in the clothes I wore three days prior and a hospital band. This week they went on vacation for spring break and looked like they had a ton of fun. Well when they came back, evidently none of them felt well so they went to the doctor and now have the flu. I’m totally fine that they went on vacation and I understand people get sick, but a simple text telling me they were sick would have been nice, but instead I walked into the kitchen, asked if they were okay because they all look ill, and that’s when they told me they all three have the flu.
I understand not everyone understands what I go through. I understand that not every roommate situation is going to be the best in college. However I feel like if there’s an open communication and an explanation of what’s going on there’s also just common courtesy that people can take. Sometimes you get crappy roommates and that’s just how life is, other times you get amazing ones.