By interviewing a person, you are recording the story of someone living with an

By interviewing a person, you are recording the story of someone living with an illness or having gone through an illness experience and who is now feeling well. Telling their story in the interview, they are allowed to travel beyond the burdens of illness and coping. The interview brings forth who the person is and is becoming as a result of illness. If we are lucky, an illness experience will ultimately teach us about our own fortitude and values. Through stories, we can help others find their way by sharing our struggles. 
Unbelievable as it may seem, some say that illness can enhance life. This is an opportunity to see if that statement is true. Illness can emphasize that which is most precious and important in life. It can teach us what not to take for granted. An illness experience can make us more compassionate and empathetic to the suffering of others. 
Interview Instructions   
Find someone who has been sick or still is sick and who is willing to talk about their illness experience. It is preferred that you do not interview someone close to you whose illness experience you lived through. 
Explain to your interviewee that this is an assignment for the humanities course called “I Feel Your Pain: Illness and Empathy in the Arts” at Excelsior University.
Ask for an hour of the interviewee’s time for the assignment.  
Clarify that the real name of the person you interview will not be used in the assignment. 
Give yourself an hour to go through these questions in person. 
Take notes to record each response.
Use the following interview questions:
When did you first feel sick? What were your symptoms?
Did you get a diagnosis and, if so, how did your diagnosis make you feel?
Were you treated for your condition?
Who treated you and what were the treatments?
Were the treatments outpatient or did you need to be hospitalized?
Are you cured and feeling better or is this a chronic condition that will need ongoing treatment?
Have you ever felt that the treatments were/are worse than the condition?
Do you know what caused your condition?
Are there lifestyle changes that you needed to make or need to make to feel better?
What have been the major impacts of this illness on your life?
Has your illness affected your relationships with others? If yes, how so?
Has your condition affected your ability to work? Go to school?
How do you feel you were treated by the practitioners involved in your care?
Do you feel that your concerns were addressed?
Have you learned anything about yourself that you might not have learned if you hadn’t been sick?
Would you say that being ill has made you more empathic toward others?
At any point did you think you were going to die, and if so, can you express how you felt?
Final wrap-up questions: Did your caregivers treat you with compassion and empathy? Who stands out to you as the kindest member of your medical care team, and why?