Friday, July 24, 2015

RA Makes Simple Activities Difficult

     Rheumatoid arthritis provides certain guarantees, one of which is turning a previously simple activity into a difficult and complicated activity.  For example, grasping and opening a door handle.  I learned this one immediately, because the day I woke up with RA I could not open my own door. 

     I recall reaching for the round door handle, and stretching out my fingers was painful.  Attempting to wrap my fingers around the handle hurt.  I couldn't completely wrap my hand around the handle because my fingers were so swollen, and the pressure required to grasp and turn sent a sharp pain through my hand.  I struggled with the handle, making several attempts just to try and open the door.  I was kind of shocked that I couldn't do something that simple.

     My door handle was just the first lesson in simple-to-difficult activities 101.  Others lessons include holding a toothbrush, sweeping with a broom, cutting food and pressing buttons.  I am acutely aware of how much hand pressure and coordination is required for most of the things most people never think twice about.  I am always judging whether or not I can handle a seemingly simple task.

     At times, it is very frustrating.  I have often thought to myself, "come on, anybody can do this!"  However, that's not true for me.  I used to do a lot of simple tasks without thinking about it, like second nature.  Now, I estimate the amount of strength needed for almost every activity.  It's tiring, even draining, but it's necessary.  I am still learning to ask for help and rely on the support of others, which I am incredibly grateful for.  It feels ridiculous, though, to ask someone else to open a bottle of water for me.  I suppose I'm still working on being okay with not being 100% okay.

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