Rheumatoid Arthritis Disability Makes Things Difficult

Rheumatoid Arthritis disability postRheumatoid Arthritis makes certain things difficult. From what I can tell, the classic list is opening doorknobs, jars, or buttons.  I have found many more things to be difficult than that, so I thought I’d modernize the list a bit. Got any more ideas?

Rheumatoid Arthritis disability makes things hard.

No one thinks about…

   

       

  • Peeling a sticker
  • Closing Ziploc bags
  • Opening a Band-Aid
  • Using dental floss
  • Tucking in sheets
  • Killing a bug
  • Washing hands
  • Applying lotion
  • Remote control
  • Laptop on lap (hips / knees)
  • Walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night
  • Using clothes pin-type hangers
  • Putting socks on a child
  • Opening the refrigerator door

Recommended reading:

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

134 thoughts on “Rheumatoid Arthritis Disability Makes Things Difficult

  • September 24, 2009 at 8:30 am
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    Mine are consist of mostly those too also but my hardest ones are:

    Taking the gas tank lid off

    pumping gas

    sippy cups lids

    opening the bathrooms doors at public places because of the latches. I cant seem to have the strength to slide them back. (embarrassing)

    putting my hair in a pony tail

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 8:32 am
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    I can’t do these:

    Pick up spilled spaghetti off floor.
    Put on socks.

    All of your list, plus many others. But not driving is the WORST.

    I can smile, twitter, and EAT. 😀

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 8:37 am
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    Diapering

    Those darn snaps on baby clothes

    picking up a heavy toddler (although I developed a technique to aid me in this a bit)

    Putting panty hose on yourself or tights on your daughter

    cleaning…squeezing a mop or scrubbing anything

    cooking…lifting pots and pans

    driving any distance is a huge pain for me gripping the steering wheel and the aching in my wrists

    all in all….a majority of the household duties required to keep a up with a busy family.

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 8:46 am
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    Thought you were going to take a day off. You deserve a week or two of “personal time”

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 8:48 am
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    I can relate to all those things, all the small motor skills are difficult and others don’t realise your difficulty :yawn:

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 8:56 am
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    On any given day..
    Personal hygene after potty – that’s a big one.
    Other toiletries such as brushing or styling hair, putting on make-up.
    Hooking my own bra can be a challenge.
    Cutting up my food so I can eat it.

    General house work, making bed, dishes, vacuuming.

    Reply
    • August 20, 2012 at 10:37 am
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      Yes! To all those 🙁

      Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 9:07 am
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    I second putting on pantyhose\tights. I don’t even bother anymore.

    Also buttons. Shirts with buttons are the pits. I hardly even wear them any more unless they’re so loose I can pull ’em over my head.

    Weeding my garden. 😥

    This is a small but annoying thing to me. I have trouble when I make coffee seperating out one filter from the stack.

    Reply
    • March 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm
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      I concur! But I gave up on pantyhose long before the RA came 🙂 Try blowing on those pesky coffee filters – that’s how I get one off the stack every morning – cheers

      Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 9:07 am
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    All of those in addition to:

    Lifting the cast iron skillet
    Opening cans the old fashioned way (without an electric can-opener)
    Passing a heavy plate of food across the table to a friend (this one so bummed me out)
    De-pitting avocados (this one landed me in the ER with stitches)
    Yoga

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 9:37 am
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    BRA!

    Yogurt lids – aka torture device

    2nd on the fitted sheets.

    Just pulling up the cover when you sleep – I had to switch from a big heavy king size comforter to 2 twins

    Anything on the bottom shelf…I can get down there…but then am stuck suddenly with the thought “I have to get back up” O.o

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 9:54 am
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    I had one more that bothers me the most!!!

    Getting a mani/pedi or massages. It hurts so bad, it isnt enjoyable…. :pain:

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 9:56 am
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    But we can all get up and be blessed that we are here to see another day.

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 10:09 am
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    As a teacher cutting with scissors and stapling is a killer.

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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    taking coins from purse…I end up with my money all over the shop floor

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm
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    Most times my RA is fairly well controlled, but things I always have trouble with…

    *I agree with the tucking sheets one

    *pouring coffee from the carafe, I can’t work the push lever at all!

    *opening bottles, like water, coke, etc….

    *agree with the regular can opener, can’t use at all!

    *clipping nails

    * pulling up compression stockings

    Reply
  • September 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm
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    All of the above

    and
    getting my pills out of
    1. Blister packs
    2. Pill bottles

    And
    getting lids off liquid medicine.

    And
    Cooking

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 2:01 am
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    The inner safety seal on anything like milk bottles, peanut butter, pill bottles.

    Hanging on to the rails in the tube train, especially the overhead ones.

    Holding a book in one hand to read standing up on the train.

    Obviously I spend lots of time on public transport!

    Reply
    • September 25, 2009 at 7:20 am
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      I spend a lot of time on public transportation too, and I’m too short to acutally hold an over head rail. I have to get there early and get a seat in the handicapped section only to have people act like I’m not entitled to one, cause I don’t look sick most of the time. But I can’t get in and out of the other ones very well.

      Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 9:54 am
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    Had to come over and read the growing list again. Seems many of us have the same challenges. I started a blog post on this subject 2 days ago, got distracted and never finished it. My subject was “Overcoming”. Of course, my solution is having a husband around to pick the spaghetti off the floor.

    How does everyone manage their challenges? By the way, I read the best ebook this week by Glenda Watson Hyatt. She has cp, and tells how she manages things. Her twitter page is http://twitter.com/GlendaWH

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 10:14 am
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    I have had to ask my husband to help me put on pantyhose–we looked really funny!

    Last night I had to ask for help to cut and serve apple pie.

    I have dental picks, seam rippers and envelope slitters in my purse, every drawer and every room, because I use them to peel back foil packaging and plastic barriers on everything from blister packs to yogurt containers. They grip and slice, when I can’t rip. I also hate trying to open sealed bags: cereal, chips, M&M’s you name it. The little “open here” slit doesn’t do me much good.

    As I type this, I am wearing both arthritis gloves and wrist supports 🙂

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 11:50 am
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    On any given day..
    Per­sonal hygene after potty — that’s a big one.
    Solution – a shower that is hand held and a husband with a sense of humor.

    Other toi­letries such as brush­ing or styling hair, putting on make-up.
    Solution – rinse hair shake out excess water add gel and have it tied into a pony tail pretend it’s an exotic look.
    Make up – either go with out or teach hubby with sense of humor how to do eyeliner and mascara.

    Hook­ing my own bra can be a chal­lenge.
    Solution – we jolingly refer to it as taking hostages. I figure hubby knows how to get the think undone he should understand reversing the process.

    Cut­ting up my food so I can eat it.
    Solution – flare days are soup day.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm
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    putting on your socks when fingers are sore

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm
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    Jars, Writing, Violin :(, sometimes though I love holding hands this just hurts, snaps how I hate snaps.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm
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    Jars, Cutting,non-lever doorknobs, handwriting, sometimes typing and holding a cup.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:21 pm
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    I had the lever doorknobs put on my doors. It really helped alot. Then my animals figured out how to open them. Came home from grocery store and found 4 goats in the house. I miss my lever-knobs.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm
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    trying to grab or grib like cups and the milk, pulling wash out of the washer. writing is harder then typing for me, but all still painful. yes, holding hands 🙁 or clapping your hands. having someone zipper up your coat. that one made me cry the first time. having my mommy zip me up, or my husband..

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm
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    shaking hands..everyone in Kenya shakes hands very firmly as a sign of respect and as you can imagine…its never easy. Its considered very disrespectful to not shake an extended hand (and the hands are always extended!)

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm
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    pumping gas is the hardest. Just getting the lid off.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm
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    driving! holding the wheel and being able to hit the gas or breaks! so I stopped driving. first cut down and only drove close to home. now forget it. the pain is to much..

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm
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    Picking up a child, snapping your fingers, putting on socks and tying shoes, lifting a hair dryer. Am so thankful that right now my meds are making these things easier.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 12:26 pm
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    getting gas cap off and pumping gas, opening up any bottle or jar, typing and using mouse on computer for too long, and using scissors or box cutter at work -that really bothers my hands.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm
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    Planing your whole life around RA. From clothing and food to house projects ie doorknobs handles instead of just knobs, (that way if your hands are hurting to much hoprfully your elbows aren’t and you can use the elbow to open the door!!) toliets that are higher then the norm and the list goes on and on.

    Reply
  • January 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm
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    So many things are a challenge.

    Squeezing the toothpaste tube.
    Pill blister packs
    Fitted sheets
    Socks
    Using the hairdryer
    Taking the wet laundry out of the washer
    Reading a heavy, thick book (switched to Kindle)
    Buying Kitty Litter

    Reply
    • January 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm
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      Wet laundry is the worst.. well only because there are 14+ loads per week… Trying to pull out of washer, it feels like fingers are dislocating – unless wrists do first… 😛

      Reply
  • January 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm
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    problems:
    ~pouring milk or coffee
    ~getting baking trays out of oven
    ~cutting up food
    ~opening gas cap
    ~helping daughter put on tights
    ~potty hygiene
    ~opening house windows
    ~holding things in hand without dropping them
    ~changing bed sheets
    ~tightening/tying tennis shoes

    some solutions:
    ~bought coffee maker with dispenser; I tilt milk jug instead of lifting to pour
    ~keep kitchen knives very sharp
    ~most of the other things I have to just ask someone to help
    ~of course, potty time, I’m on my own ;D

    Reply
    • January 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm
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      Thanks, Jodi. Good list.
      I do the pour-down trick too. The milk is on the counter by the sink; I hold the cup down inside the sink and “pour down” so I never pick up the gallon. Of course, kids have to get it out of fridge for me. I just want the little roo to think his momma gets him something sometimes… :chic:

      Reply
  • January 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm
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    -Zipping my kids coats
    -To shave my legs or not to shave – can I hold the razor steady enough/well enough
    -Braiding my girls hair

    Reply
  • January 1, 2010 at 8:46 pm
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    Problems: writing, typing, driving, standing for any length of time, bathing, cooking, dressing, brushing teeth–almost anything that requires physical effort causes either pain or fatigue; usually both!

    Solutions: special arthritis pens, wheelchair, shower chair, handicapped family seat, handicapped parking placard, family help on almost everything!

    Anita

    Reply
  • January 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm
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    Grocery shopping is my biggest challenge. I can no longer shop for more than a couple of days at a time, must use shoulder bags, so what doesn’t fit doesn’t get purchased…and forget heavy stuff…have to ask others to help when purchasing water/ice etc.
    I also work as a speaker so I have to carry heavy equipment. The bag they supply is on rollers but there’s no shoulder strap, only side handles to pick it up. So I have to carry everything in my own bags and balance out the weight so it’s distributed evenly. SO much planning and extra work to do the things so many take for granted!

    Reply
  • January 1, 2010 at 10:18 pm
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    I have issues with all of the above as well as taking out trash and replacing trash bag,had to quit wearing tennis shoes b/c I can’t tie laces so it’s slip-on backless shoes for me, sometimes electric can opener can cause pain so I opt for frozen dinner in the micro, I sit in walker to wash dishes if feet and knees are too bad and it works for brushing teeth and doing hair(tub chair works too), zippers and buttons on jeans, grooming my Silky Terrier, cleaning my eyeglasses is very painful anytime b/c of the motion of fingers required, just living alone is a daily challenge with RA, OA and FM. I find new and different ways to do things all the time but they don’t work for every situation or pain I’m always having to adjust this or quit that, it’s extremely frustrating as well as emotionally and physically draining. And as I park my truck in the handicap spot at the grocery store, looking for the nearest cart to lean on I deal with the nasty looks from people who are obviously thinking I’m taking advantage of “Granny’s” placard! When I awake in the morning I thank our Lord and Savior for another day given, when lay down to try and sleep I thank our Father God for another day lived!

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm
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    Opening jars, writing with certain types of pens, opening the mail, and sometimes cutting my own meat can be painful at times. Be kind and understanding to people. You may not know that they are hurting. RA sucks b/c it’s an “invisible disease” in many people. You look normal from the outside, but may be having a terrible, achy day in your joints! 🙂

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm
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    Tying shoelaces!

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:34 pm
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    Having the energy to sustain housework, cooking, shoping etc.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:35 pm
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    when my fingers are having issues and weakness, I have a hard time opening zip lock bags

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:36 pm
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    my hands swell, i have problems lifting or carrying things, opening jars, bottles and bags. This week my whole body is revolting for some reason with fevers, swollen joints and fatigue.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm
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    What about hooking your bra, putting on earings or any claps for jewelry.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:38 pm
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    scratching my yorkie’s ears!

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm
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    I’ve had all the above! How about when somebody that KNOWS about ur RA, and “understands” asks “how ya feeling today”? and u decide 2 tell ’em, not too good. And they still give u that, ” yeah, me to, my knees kill me when the weather changes”……..ok,… from now on, my standard answer, “fine” goes to everyone!!! 🙂

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm
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    it’s just so amazing how many “normal” things for others are difficult for RA’rs and this difficulty just goes unnoticed…

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:47 pm
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    turning light switches, opening car doors, or many other door for that matter, holding a plate with food seem so easy but many times it isnt..oh yeh…shampoo and other bottle…. all a pain… all of these LITTLE things turn into big hassles and people dont get it.. well mostRA’ers do.. but outside .. of them..

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm
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    Getting change out of my purse – when it was really difficult it was a warning sign but i didn’t know….

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:50 pm
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    “Skinny” pencils and pens are easier to use if you insert them into a large sponge roller, it gives you cushion and makes them larger, dust w/vac attachment instead of rag, if you have one of those long gripper things(don’t know name n I got one) you can get spaghetti off floor by putting paper towels over mess and using griper…these things don’t always work it depends alot on your level of pain at the time, right now I couldn’t manage any of them I’m using a long-handle wood spoon to type the spoon end is wrapped in bubble wrap…it works today……..

    Reply
  • January 4, 2010 at 10:51 pm
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    Steps, I hate steps….Also, My energy level is that of a 90 yr. old, kills me when my kids need/want me to do something with them.

    Reply

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