Wednesday, 6 February 2013

10 Things I Took For Granted...

Below is a list of the top 10 things I took for granted before having Rheumatoid Arthritis:


1. Washing & styling my hair - Since my hands have become very painful and swollen, I have lost the ability to squeeze anything. I currently use herbal essences shampoo, however the design of the bottle is a nightmare for me to get anything out of it, particularly the conditioner! I have devised a new way of getting the shampoo out of the bottle, which is pressing it against the wall with one hand and putting my other hand underneath to catch the shampoo, but this does take a lot of effort. I think I may start choosing my shampoo based on the bottle rather than the contents! Once I have got the shampoo out, I really struggle to get my left arm higher than shoulder height, which means anything to do with my hair has to be done with one hand. It doesn't sound that bad, but try washing your hair with one hand, its not that easy! Especially when the fingers on the hand you're using are swollen. This also goes for putting my hair up, so if you see me going for the "bed head" look, this may not be out of choice, it is probably because I haven't been able to do anything with it!

2. Not having to worry where I can get a parking space - There are times when no matter how sore/tired/lazy/ill you are feeling, you have to go shopping, and this applies to everyone! There's always that one thing you consider leaving for another day, but in the end, you really need it that day and have to go out. On these days, I will drive round and round for ages to try and find a spot close to the shop that I need to go to. Even if I have been driving for 15 minutes and there is a perfectly good spot further away, sometimes I just cant manage the walk on top of having to walk around the shop.



 3.Wearing what ever shoes I want, when I want - I adore shoes! And in particular, I adore high heeled, platform shoes. However these do not mix with swollen and painful feet or weak ankles. Don't get me wrong, there are some days when I can wear heels, but more often than not, I can't. If I know I want to wear heels at the weekend, I do try to walk less during the week to try and keep the pain down, but this does not always work. Also, it's not just heels, sometimes I cant wear a pair of flat shoes simply because my feet are too swollen to fit in them.

4. Helping people - So many times I hear "will someone help me carry this" or "can someone pick one of these up" and previously I would be the first one to help. Even though I am small, I was surprisingly strong and would never think twice about helping someone with anything. But now I simply can't! I am in pain in so many places that I struggle doing things for myself let alone helping anyone else. My consultant also told me that putting too much pressure or strain on an affected joint could tear my tendons around it very easily. Even though I know this, I always feel guilty when I hear someone ask for help , especially when no one else volunteers and sometimes I will try anyway. 


5. Being able to pick up a cup of tea with one hand  - I first noticed the start of my arthritis when I felt pain in my knuckle picking up a cup of tea. Since then it has spread to my fingers and wrist, which makes it incredibly painful to pick up anything with one hand, even a cup of tea! I cant put any pressure on my index finger because it is so swollen or my middle finger because the knuckle is so painful, which means that the only fingers I can put in the handle part is my ring finger and little finger. If you've never tried picking up a cup of tea with just those fingers, it's really hard! My left wrist is also too weak to hold it, so I have to share the weight between both hands.


 6. Enjoying lying around in bed at the weekend - I used to love the feeling when you first wake up at the weekend, with no need to get up right away, so you can just lie in bed  under your nice warm covers and wake up gradually. Not anymore! Now when I wake up, I want to sit up right away because something, somewhere will be hurting, no matter what position I lie in.


7. Unlocking a door - It is a nightmare for me when I have to use a key to unlock or open a door! I find it really hard to grasp the key and then I also really struggle turning it. I feel like Alice in Wonderland trying to open a tiny door, using a tiny key, with a massive hand! I have to use a key every day to get in to work and quite often at weekends there will be no one home when I arrive. There have been times when I have spent 10 minutes outside my house trying to get the key into the lock or trying to remember which way I am meant to turn it, because neither seem to be right!



8. Being able to open up bottles, jars and packets - This is a bit of an obvious one, but when you have swollen fingers, it is almost impossible to open anything. I can't count the number of times I have gone to make pasta and not been able to open up the jar of pasta sauce, or gone to make a drink and can't open up the vimto bottle.  It is so frustrating when you are on your own.


9. Not having to arrange my life around medication - At the moment, I take 8 pills of methotrexate on a Wednesday morning. This means that my Wednesday evening is pretty much a write off because I feel horrendous. I have never known nausea like it and it can last for days. I try to arrange everything I have to do in the week so that Wednesday is clear. That way I can go home after work on Wednesday and spend the night watching films, reading or having an early night. I also have to take advantage of the times when I don't feel sick and try and eat something, because at the moment I can't make it through a meal without having to stop due to feeling sick. I can't actually remember the last time I ate a full meal.

 10. Feeling secure in public places - It has never been something to cross my mind until I got RA. But if I know I am going to a public place, I can't help but worry that I am going to get hurt. Places like pubs and clubs are the worst because people will just push past you without thinking that they could be doing some real damage to a person who is fragile. But I even worry in places like waiting rooms because I'm scared a child is going to bash my feet while I'm sat down. I didn't realise before, but public places can be very stressful places because you have no control over other people.


This may seem like a negative post, but I thought it was important to show what RA sufferers go through on a daily basis. I also thought it was important to highlight how much some people take for granted, I wish I realised before hand. They may seem like small issues, but it's hard to deal with when they occur on a daily basis and you never had this problem before.

My next "10 things" post however, will be a positive one , so look out for it!
    

10 comments:

  1. I understand every one of your "Things I took for granted". Please consider getting a handicapped parking permit. I put off getting one much longer than I should have. My doctor & my husband both suggested it years ago. I finally did get one, and on bad days, it saves me a lot of pain. On good days, I do not use it.

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    1. A few people have suggested to get a handicap parking permit, but my doctor hasn't suggested it so I wasn't sure if I would qualify for one. It would be great to have for bad days though and like you say, you don't have to use it on good days.

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  2. I feel you with every single one mentioned! I miss my high heels! They are so beautiful and now they just sit there looking sad and covered in dust :( I also spent some time in hospital recently and the mugs they use for tea are those ones with a handle you can fit only one finger through, because that makes so much sense in a hospital where people will struggle with a normal handle! Just goes to show how much thought is put into their public services.

    Hayley-Eszti x

    www.hayleyeszti.blogspot.com

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    1. That is shocking, some people just dont think! I think a lot of the problem is that people don't realise what we struggle with, which you wouldn't do unless you suffer with RA. That is why I did this post, to highlight some of these points x

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  3. Hi. could you please folloow my new blogspot? http://mrsjharr1987.blogspot.co.uk/.

    I find your post truly inspirational & enjoy readin your updates! I hope you're well. take care Xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. Of course, I have just signed up to follow your new one.

      Thank you very much for your kind comments x

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  4. I know what you mean about the shampoo bottles. Sometimes, it's just too much work. I found that the bottles with a pump are the best. Whilst it might not always be my prefered brand, the ease is usually worth it.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth. I will have to look out for a shampoo with a pump, that is a great idea.
      I'm using Dove at the moment which seems to be easier than herbal essences. x

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  5. It's amazing how many things we take for granted on a daily basis until we lose the freedom to do them without complication. I'm so sorry that the little joys in life have been ripped away from you. Have you tried LED light therapy? I'm just curious because it really is a way to ease the pain at home. I have had so many tell me this therapy has literally changed their lives. It might not erase the pain completely but it may offer relief and increase motion. Thanks for sharing these touching moments from your life Sarah.

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    1. No I have never heard of LED light therapy to be perfectly honest. I will look in to it. I don't want my blog to be negative, so I will be posting a more positive "10 things" post soon, look out for it! x

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