Sunday, August 2, 2009

How Do I Loathe Thee? Let Me Count The Ways...

Alright, so a lot of people say that they get their best ideas on the toilet right? You can consider me one of them right now. For people who maybe don't quite understand how Still's Disease/JRA affects the 'everyday' stuff that I do, I thought maybe I'd just list the things that are harder to do when the arthritis is acting up (like it's been lately).

One of the reasons I got this idea on the toilet is because most toilets are fairly short. The way that knees have to bend in order to use short toilets makes me want to scream. Sitting down is terrible, but getting back up is the worst.

I live in a house with a washer and dryer in the basement and my room on the second level. To make it up and down the stairs, I have to hold the handrail and have my other hand on the wall for most of the way down. The impact of going down the stairs on not only the knees but also the ankles makes me want to just sleep downstairs in the recliner like I've done a lot lately.

Just walking hurts. As of late, I can walk fine if I don't have to pick up my feet. I shuffle along a lot when I am wearing normal shoes, but it's usually better for my knees and ankles if I wear high heels or some other form of elevated shoe. I'm sure it doesn't help that I have no arches in my feet to help absorb some of the impact from walking.

I've already talked about how the arthritis can affect my internal organs and loves to frequent my stomach. Eating is a day-to-day thing with me, whether that's the result of the arthritis (like it normally is) or still a semi-eating disorder problem. Since it also affects my other organs, however, they have to work extra hard to get their jobs done. My liver, for example, would be absolutely at a loss if I went out and drank a ton. Yes, there are actually medical reasons why I do not drink so much.

Lifting things can definitely be tough. Earlier this year, in one of my first posts, I talked about my pitcher's shoulder problem. When my right shoulder goes haywire, I can usually pitch to a wall or another person and loosen up that joint enough to only be sore from the movements.

Sleeping is usually either extremely difficult or way too easy for me. I'm either in enough pain that I can't sleep for hours on end (take last night for example, when I didn't end up sleeping until about three in the morning) or I'm so exhausted from doing normal day-to-day things that I pass out. If I sleep in the wrong position or on my wrist, that can be a bother for days and weeks. I've had to wrap my wrist and elbow every day for two weeks in some cases before I really get any relief.

My arthritis usually seems to get worse right about my menstrual cycle. So along with the PMS and mood swings, I get amped up doses of pain. This isn't always the case, but it definitely is something I've had to become used to. Another thing - and I won't go into too much detail on this one - that gets more difficult is being intimate. Different movements and different positions can really end up taking more of a toll on my body than I let on.

Like I said in my last post though, the mental anguish over not being able to do things like go to the bathroom without pain (is that too much to ask?) is terrible. I think the biggest fear that I have in life is that I will end up in a wheelchair, unable to finish my schooling and unable to do things for myself. If the pain from the arthritis doesn't keep me up at that, that will.

That's a pretty good starter list for right now. As I go through more pain, you'll definitely hear about it.

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