I've got an old expression I've said a few times now. I hate to make things sound too bad, like when people ask me "How's your grandmother?" A few people know her -- probably more than I know of, really -- and they know me by extension.
I'll be out at the grocery store, like I was today, and someone asks, "How's your grandmother?" (Hey, what am I? Don't you realize that I had a cold for four days? Why don't you ask how I am? I'm not chopped liver, you know! -- Sorry.) They ask the question, probably not realizing that I also have feelings -- which is beside the point. And here's the expression I've used, that she's getting along as well as can be expected, really, and she puts on "a brave face."
The more you say something corny like "a brave face" the more you feel like using it, and other corny expressions. It keeps people thinking that you're absolutely sincere, and that you want to hear them asking questions like this. When you'd like to say, like they say at the hospital, "Are you family? Then I'm sorry, but I can't give out that information. The Privacy Act, you know." People at the hospital are the least helpful people I know, and they hide behind that Privacy Act crap. It's their excuse, their crutch. I had a fight with someone -- this is true -- and I'm at the hospital -- and a nurse asked me what it was all about. I thought about snotting off at her, saying, "Are you family?" but I hesitated and said nicely that I don't think I need to get into that. She backed off right away, then I explained it was just a disagreement over certain matters... More or less true.
But people keep asking questions -- sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong, as to how she's doing, etc., etc.; it gets old! In a way I don't mind, as long as I have a ready answer, a corny one, that "Things seem to be better. She's showing a brave face."