The benefits of online shopping for those with chronic illness

The pain and bleeding episodes from hemophilia can make errands difficult

Alliah Czarielle avatar

by Alliah Czarielle |

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Online shopping is one of my guilty pleasures. In fact, as I write this column, I may have spent a significant fraction of the day swiping through hundreds of pages of items on my favorite shopping app.

I don’t always end up ordering every item I find — I simply have a well-populated wish list of all the items I intend to buy. If I do order something, I’ve usually given it a significant amount of thought. I can make an exception in two cases, though: if I consider the item a necessity or if I’m ordering food.

Overall, shopping apps have become reliable and convenient for the modern-day customer. They are also extremely helpful for people with chronic illnesses, like my husband, Jared, who has hemophilia.

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Following are some of the ways online shopping is helpful to him:

A source of ingredients for his cooking hobby

Jared loves making food and orders most of his ingredients online, especially imported goods. He has a trusted seller for these products. He finds it convenient to not have to scour a physical grocery for products that aren’t usually found in a standard store.

It’s also great that he can order stuff for his hobby anytime he wants, even when he’s in the midst of a bleeding episode due to his hemophilia. That way, he doesn’t have to stop doing what he loves, and he can distract himself from the pain and discomfort by staying occupied.

Food delivery services keep us fed during severe bleeds

At times when Jared’s bleeds are causing severe pain or limiting his mobility, he’s often unable to make food. These moments can be stressful, even for me as a caregiver. As an empath, I tend to feel his emotions deeply. As a result, I find it difficult to do anything else. Chores are usually off the table.

Online delivery services have saved us numerous times in these situations. Instead of preparing a meal, we simply order takeout. Apps make the ordering process simple. We don’t even have to make a call — we simply touch virtual buttons, pay with our bank cards or digital apps, and wait for our order to arrive on our doorstep.

Jared and I have pleasant childhood memories of certain fast-food chains. Because of this, simple fast-food meals become comforting treats that are helpful in getting us through hard times.

Shopping apps are great, but there’s a missing feature

As helpful as shopping apps are to people and families living with chronic illnesses, I think they still lack an important feature, at least where we live in the Philippines. That’s the ability to order medicine.

We don’t have a popular app or shopping platform here to buy prescription medicine from the comfort of our homes. The more common practice would be to call a drugstore and place an order, but we’d still have to pick it up. If someone can’t drive or commute, they’ll have difficulty picking up their medications. Delivery can be arranged through a third-party courier, but it’s not a streamlined process.

I imagine a shopping app for medicine would be helpful for people like Jared, who rely on maintenance medication and other drugs to alleviate pain during chronic illness flare-ups. It’d be nice if I no longer had to drive somewhere to restock medications when Jared is in severe pain and could use some loving comfort.

In terms of medical supplies, we’ve only ever succeeded in buying IV butterfly needles for factor infusion via a shopping app. Thankfully, they were cheaper there.

If you have a chronic illness or are a caregiver, has online commerce helped you? Please share in the comments below. 

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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