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.