Last year when I wrote my first memo to Non-RA’ers, I tried to explain in simple words what it is like to be a Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient (RA’er). I thought that if I explained Rheumatoid Arthritis in terms of injuries and illnesses that are familiar, it would be easier for you to understand what it’s like for the RA patient you love.
Really, I was trying to help you understand what your RA patient needs you to know. It might make a difference in your expectations if you can imagine for just a moment what an RA patient experiences. The kind of pain and weakness that hinders your performance once in a while due to a sprained knee or kidney infection limits RA patients every day.
Can you relate to this? When you’ve just had shoulder surgery, you don’t expect to be asked to shovel the driveway. If you had a broken leg, you would want people to know not to expect you to join in a bike ride. Most Rheumatoid Arthritis patients live with these kinds of problems in several joints every day. For some, it’s every joint.
There’s not some fuzzy math here either. Don’t believe that the pain is divided evenly since RA patients hurt in more than one place at a time, with each joint hurting just a little. Each single joint or tendon hurts as much as the one joint in the injury example. RA uses multiplication, not division. Actually, RA patients often state that when they have had injuries or surgeries, the pain and disability is much less than that of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Please learn more about the Rheumatoid Arthritis patient in your life
There are so many other things I wish I could tell you. I’ll close with a request. Please learn before you judge. Every day I read comments from RA’ers who cannot get people in their lives to believe how difficult and painful living with RA is. They are not accommodated.
Is it that they are not articulate enough to explain it? I don’t think that’s it. Maybe people just doubt what they cannot see or feel for themselves? Here is a way you can see much clearer. Spend some time reading comments on this blog or scrolling down its Facebook page. A little while doing this would change the life of the RA’er you and I both care about.
If you want to learn a lot more about RA, start with RA 101 on the top menu tab. Also, this link will take you to every post on this blog which is specially written to explain RA to you who do not have RA. Click on individual titles to see comments or post one.
Note: I grant permission for the reprint of this post if it remains entirely intact and my copyright statement remains attached.
Recommended reading to help you learn more about RA:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Disability Makes Things Difficult
- 13 Ways to Help People Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
- 20 Things Not to Say to a Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient