“Am I sick?” my friend, Lisa, asked her doctor. “Are Hypersensitives sick?”
A couple years ago, Lisa almost died. She still has the hypersensitivity that almost killed her. With that hypersensitivity, is my friend sick, or is she healthy?
Lisa is an attractive, highly intelligent, 75-year-old retiree. She has an successful boyfriend. She owned an antique shop for years, then closed it. Now she is selling off the last of the antiques. This keeps her busy—very busy. When I want to talk to her, I find that she is seldom home. When I do see her, she is running past me, smiling, full of life, and eager to complete whatever task she is in the middle of. Is my friend sick? No, she is the picture of health.
Two years ago, Lisa was given an antibiotic to treat an infection. After a few hours, most of her body became covered with a terrible rash. She lay in the hospital bed for almost a week. The rash disappeared, but the alarmed doctors kept her in the hospital a few more days, just to be safe. When she was finally discharged, the doctors told her she was hypersensitive to the antibiotic she had taken.
“Be careful,” the doctor said. “Let all your doctors know about this incident.”
“Am I sick?” Lisa asked.
“No,” the doctor said. “But you did just have a hypersensitivity reaction. You’re fine now.”
Are hypersensitives sick?
We had better stop calling hypersensitivities illnesses. Hypersensitives who are less tough than Lisa could feel disabled for the rest of their lives by such frightening talk.
A hypersensitivity reaction means that:
When the trigger is gone, the reaction ends, and you’re the same as before.
It’s best to think in terms of two different things, hypersensitivity reactions and illnesses/diseases. We may feel sick while we are having a reaction, but we are not sick all the time. Hypersensitives are healthy people who sometimes have hypersensitive reactions.
Dr. Jean M. Bradt
Ph.D., Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, 1988