Replies to things not to say to an RA patient (UPDATED)
Every day, I hear from many people living with Rheumatoid Disease. This post about things not to say to an RA patient was a response to a request from a 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 4,661 likes as of tonight.
She asked: “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?”
This is my best shot, but I’d love to hear your replies too. How do we respond to things not to say to an RA patient? Remember, the name of the game is not to be nasty. Hopefully, we can still make it clear that Rheumatoid is a serious disease with arthritis as its most well-known symptom.
20 Replies to things not to say to an RA patient
- Aren’t you feeling better yet?
Some days are better than others. I know where you can donate to help find a cure.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, like tennis, running, & swimming. Or washing my hair, walking my dog or ____.
- You don’t look swollen, sick, or ____
- Have you tried counseling? Maybe you’re just depressed.
Part of the reason I’m not depressed may be that I did seek counseling after receiving this serious diagnosis. And I have a community online who understands. That helps me to accept it.
- 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.
- No, it’s not heavy. Here, hold this.
That might not be a good idea. I do drop things.
- Have you tried the blue stuff?
I’ve tried almost every color of medicine and cream you’ve heard of. If your blue stuff successfully treated RA, it would cost a lot more.
- You’re just feeling achy or referring to the “aches & pains of arthritis.”
Usually, RA pain is sharp so patients often compare it to an ice pick or a knife.
- Why didn’t you try glucosamine (or Omega3 or gluten-free…) instead of that medication?
I actually do take some of those supplements, but they don’t treat my RA.
- Just drink this juice. (Or eat blueberries or cherries…)
I would have to drink several gallons of that juice to get the temporary anti-inflammatory effect of taking one Advil. I take four Advil every few hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- At least it’s not cancer. It’s not like it will kill you.
Some cancers do kill more quickly than RA, but RA has a similar mortality rate to some cancers and other serious diseases.
- I read about a woman who cured her RA with…vitamin supplements, antibiotics…
I’m glad she feels better.
- 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.
- My Grandmother had that.
I’m sorry. At what age did you lose her? Some of my relatives died of RA also.
- I used Tylenol arthritis and mine went away.
Good. If it was RA, it will be back. Unfortunately.
What would you add to the list of things not to say to an RA patient?
- Is That Your Final Answer? …or Replying to Misconceptions
- Laura’s CVS Commercial with Kelly’s CVS and the “a” Word
- Joint Effort of Rheum Patients Will Outshine Progressing RA
- Perseverance in Fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis