Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's Funny About RA

If you can't find the humor in life, you are doomed. This is especially true if you live with chronic pain. Admittedly, I have days when absolutely nothing is funny, or even the least bit entertaining. Most RA patients have disease "flares", times when disease activity is high and pain, stiffness & fatigue are debilitating. These flares can last hours, days, weeks - there are even a few with RA who never get a respite from the aggressive march of their disease and the crippling damage it inflicts.

Interestingly, many of the people I know with RA who suffer the most have the best senses of humor (is that right - the plural looks weird). Begs the question: does suffering teach us to chill, not take ourselves so seriously, actually "build character"?

How can I not laugh when I realize that painting my toenails is like a Sumo wrestler attempting yoga? Why not laugh off the fact that it's 3:30 pm and I'm still in my pajamas when UPS comes to the door? You hear humorous names for that every-morning ritual when you can't motor around well because of stiffness (morning stiffness is a hallmark of RA) - the Frankenstein walk, the penguin walk, the Zombie walk, etc. Many in the RA community believe that the name of the disease should be changed, because it gets confused with osteoarthritis, a serious but milder condition. One of my favorite suggestions is Type II Rabies - definitely an attention getter! (thanks Jay)

Some may think it's strange to make light of such a serious, crippling disease.

When you are faced with the prospect of the Zombie walk every morning for the rest of your life; when your husband or your grandkids have to paint your toenails; when you flood the bathroom because you're alone and your hands suddenly won't work to turn off the bathwater - the only sane choice is to laugh.

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