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Glaring and scooting

Most of the time, I don't want anyone to know I have CF. I have no desire for people to know how hard it is for me to breathe sometimes or how much pain I'm in when I forget to take my pills or my stomach just decides not to cooperate. I hide how my health is doing from the majority of people, simply because it's impossible to explain CF fully enough to do it justice to a healthy person. However, there are definitely times I wish everyone knew about my CF totally and completely. Take today in anatomy and physiology, for example. I sit in the 2nd row in the middle of the room. We are pretty packed in that room, so naturally I am surrounded by peers. I had a minor coughing fit before class started today. Nothing big, just a few typical CF coughs. After the spell had passed, the chick who sits in front of me turned around, glared at me, and then purposefully scooted her desk a good six inches forward. I kid you not, there was a considerable amount of room between her desk and mine. She then proceeded to take out her hand sanitizer and use about a quarter-size glob of it. Now, I have no problem at all with people being careful of germs. I carry around hand sanitizer myself and try to stay away from people who are coughing. But did she really have to look at me like that? Did she really have to move her desk so far forward? Is six inches really going to help her that much? I wanted to scream at her, "I'm not contagious! Don't give me that look! My lungs are screwed up!" (Of course, I didn't. But I thought about it!) It's frustrating to get those looks of disgust and for people to make quick judgements about me, especially when they know nothing about my circumstances. I try my best not to put people into my own made-up boxes based on first impressions and quick interactions specifically for that reason. I'm not saying it's easy--I struggle with not judging people. However, I'm learning more and more how ridiculous I am when I immediately think I know everything about a person when I haven't even taken the time to get to know him or her. I am working on not making assumptions about people, and I hope you will, too. So the lesson for the day: the next time you meet a CFer and hear him or her cough, don't immediately glare and try to avoid all contact!

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