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!