During those first few months with full-blown Rheumatoid Arthritis, hand joints were not my concern. I had no idea what was in store. No one told me that RA always gets your hands …eventually.
No one needs to tell you how bad RA hurts if you have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Hands become extremely tender and fragile. Joints are loosened and easily pulled out of place.
Handshakes with an RA hand
When you have RA, handshakes become a dreaded affair. I’ve heard so many stories about “Ouch!” in the fingers and offended friends. On a recent post, I mentioned handshakes at church and someone commented about hiding in the bathroom! …The worst part is that I can relate to that.
Once, right after RA finally did take hold of my hands, I had a horrendous experience on a Sunday morning. A 94 year old man caught me off guard. He smiled and squeezed my fingers extremely hard. They crushed together under the pressure.
A couple of years ago, I decided to take matters into my own hands, pardon the pun. I decided that an assertive handshake that protected my fragile fingers would demonstrate that even though my hands are impaired, I’m still friendly. So, I started using my homemade handshake seen in these photos and video below.
You have to be a little forward. Smile and move toward the person with both of your hands out. With your right hand, reach out about 3 inches farther and a little lower than you would for a traditional handshake. Gently grasp their wrist and palm and make a little shake motion up and down. Let go quickly before they know what hit them.
You can either end there or proceed to the second step. If you want to make a warm impression, take your left hand and briefly clasp the other side of their hand or touch their arm.
I love to watch the different reactions. Most of the time, they are positive. Also, it leaves no opportunity for someone to insist that my RA hands handshake in the conventional way. I just do what I can do. It just is what it is. It is a warm and friendly greeting …from a Rheumatoid Arthritis hand.