Sympathy and Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

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puzzled look

Are there any sympathy rules for living with Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms?

The other night, one of my boys said to another, “I’m not doing that. You do it. I’m sick.” Nothing serious – there have been several courses of cold and flu in my household recently. But, I raised my eyebrow.

Of course you can think faster than I can type and you are one step ahead of me. I thought: I’m living with RA; when do I get to say that? When is it my turn to say, “I’m sorry, I’m not doing that; my Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms prevent that”?

What are the rules? When I was 8, I got to go to bed when I was sick. There were some perks to sick days.

What does Rheumatoid Arthritis pain have to do with a kidney infection?

Except for the Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis and thirty years of thyroid disease, I’ve always been very healthy. 😉   Lots of patients tell me that – probably it’s due to the extra strength immune system which also causes the RA. However, last Easter, thanks to my medically suppressed immune system, I had my first kidney infection.

What did the kidney infection teach me about RA?

The kidney caused pain in my lower back which was similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis pain. It hurt. I’ve described my high tolerance for pain before.

For a few days, I lived with the kidney pain, only mentioning it to my daughter. I had antibiotics. It would be gone soon. Suck it up.

Word did leak out about the kidney infection though. And what followed was startling. It still amazes me.

Someone called me on the phone just to sympathize. She said, “Ooo, that hurts!” Then, during a period of three hours, three different people called and said almost exactly the same thing. At that point, I’d been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 3 years and no one had ever said that to me.

With a 3-day old kidney infection, three people went out of their way to say,”Ooo, that hurts” within three hours. Every one of these women is a kind, sympathetic, Christian woman. But none of them had ever expressed such sympathy to me before as I lived with the RA.

In case the reader does not have RA, let me be perfectly clear. The kidney infection did hurt and my fever was 104 F, but it was nothing at all compared to living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

It has been 6 months and I am still haunted by this episode. Why is there so little sympathy for those living with Rheumatoid Arthritis? I don’t really want sympathy. I just want an answer.

I do not want sympathy; I want to be well. I want to do everything I used to do – and do it quickly and easily…  And I want to do it all by myself – without needing help or having people wonder what my problem is. I want to be the caregiver of my children for many years to come, not have them take care of me

Meanwhile, living with the reality of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis itself is devastating. Unsympathetic reactions are an added burden. We will be okay without sympathy, but I for one, am curious: Why is there so little of it for those living with RA?

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 7:22 am and is filed under Communication and Inspiration. 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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