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20 Replies to Things Not to Say to a Rheumatoid Patient

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Joy color cups mosaic of RA patient picturesEvery day, I talk with several Rheumatoid patients, and hear from many more. Today’s post is in response to a request from one dear reader about one of the most popular posts on the blog, 20 Things Not to Say to a Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient with 2,640 likes as of tonight. “I love this post. Have you ever thought of writing a post with how to respond to these comments? I don’t just mean the snarky replies we want to say, but reasonable answers that will hopefully shut people up?”

I’ll give it my best shot, but I’d love to hear your replies too. Remember, the name of the game is not to be nasty. But hopefully, we can still make it clear that RA is a serious disease with arthritis as its most well-known symptom.

  1. Aren’t you feeling better yet?
    Some days are better than others. I know where you can donate to help find a cure.
  2. You’re not old enough to have arthritis.
    No one of any age should have to suffer with a disease like this, especially the children who have it. I guess I’m blessed for the years I grew up without it.
  3. Oh, I know; me too.
    I’m sorry if you don’t feel well. But if your doctor didn’t prescribe chemotherapy, I doubt you have the same diagnosis.
  4. Exercise would really help you feel better.
    Regular exercise didn’t keep me from getting sick. I really miss the things I can’t do anymore, especially tennis, running, and swimming.
  5. You don’t look swollen, sick, or ______
    Thank you.
  6. Have you tried counseling? Maybe you’re depressed.
    Part of the reason I’m not depressed may be that I sought counseling after receiving this serious diagnosis. It helped me to accept it.
  7. Why do you walk so funny?
    I’m not sure; it may be the damage to my hips or knees. But all of the joints in my ankles and toes hurt so much today, I can’t be sure.
  8. No, it’s not heavy. Here, hold this.
    That might not be a good idea; I do drop things.
  9. Have you tried the blue stuff?
    I’ve tried almost every color of medicine you’ve heard of. If your blue stuff successfully treated RA, it would cost a lot more.
  10. You’re feeling achy. / The aches & pains of arthritis.
    Usually, RA pain is sharp so patients often compare it to an ice pick or a knife.
  11. Why didn’t you try glucosamine (or Omega3 or gluten-free…) before you tried that medication?
    I actually do take some of those supplements, but they don’t treat my RA.
  12. Just drink this juice. (Or eat blueberries…)
    I would have to drink several gallons of that juice day to get the temporary anti-inflammatory effect of taking an Advil. I take four Advil every few hours.  
  13. Is that your handicapped parking tag?
    Yes, sometimes I can walk to get into a store, but I have a hard time making it back to the car.
  14. You just need to lose some weight. (Or gain weight!)
    Thin people and heavy people both suffer from RA. It is a wasting disease, so eating well to be a healthy weight is a real concern, but it won’t make the disease less harmful.
  15. I’m glad you’re better now.
    I wish you could see how I really feel, but not as much as I wish I really were better now.
  16. At least it’s not cancer. It’s not like it will kill you.
    Some cancers kill more quickly than RA, but RA has a similar mortality rate to other cancers.
  17. I read about a woman who cured hers with…vitamin supplements, antibiotics…
    I don’t know what her illness was, but I’m glad she feels better.
  18. You just have a low tolerance to pain.
    I actually have a high tolerance for pain, but sometimes I have less tolerance for ignorance about this serious illness.
  19. My Grandmother had that.
    I’m sorry. At what age did you lose her? Some of my relatives died of RA also.
  20. I used Tylenol arthritis and mine went away
    Good. If it was RA, it will be back. Unfortunately.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 21st, 2012 at 5:00 am and is filed under Can we laugh now?, If you don't have RA, please read. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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