I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and I would like to share a typical day with you. Because this disease has no cure, the only thing I can do is to ensure I follow a routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. Being a father of two kids, my schedules can be hectic but I have to balance everything to ensure that my joints are not getting a raw deal. Also, since I am now closer to 40 than 30 and have been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for more than six years, my personal advice would be carefully honing a routine and following it.
Sleeping and Waking
Because of the stiffness and soreness in my shoulders, my nights are spent shifting from side to side. One thing that helps me to have at least some sleep is my pressure relief mattress that combines air with a soft foam surface. Waking up is a slow affair because stiffness in my knees is a bit much in the morning. Because weariness and fatigue are one of the worst effects of rheumatoid arthritis, I wake up a bit early to move slowly through the morning, preparing my kids’ lunches and breakfast. My wrists are fused and fingers are gnarled. Because of this deformity, I prefer to have huge grip handles on the knives and spoons I use.
Breakfast and Hygiene
My children have cereal for breakfast while I prefer some toast and fruit. Then I take my medications that are stored in special arthritis-friendly bottles. After this, I use the toilet. I have a raised toilet seat attached to my toilet so as to not put pressure on my knee joints. I use an electric toothbrush since it cleans my teeth pretty well without needing any extra movement from my wrist.
I take a long time to take a hot shower because it helps with the pain and soreness. It usually takes me 20 minutes to finish my shower. Since massaging my scalp with the shampoo is difficult and painful for me, I prefer using a brush and then standing under a shower (low speed) so that the shampoo will wash down the rest of my hair. I have rubber mats installed on the bathroom floor to prevent slipping since my toes are a little crooked and don’t really offer a good grip on the floor. I dry off in front of a large fan.
I didn’t always exercise but I started going to the park to stretch and walk with my friends after I started noticing signs of depression. When I spoke to my doctor, she recommended that I exercise and get some physical activity every day. Going out also refreshes my mood and the park is nearby. After performing some basic stretches, I come back home.
As you may have noticed, doing simple day-to-day jobs is not as easy to me as it is for others. But my family is supportive and my friends are very understanding. All this helps me to stay upbeat and happy no matter what.
Image source: Fllickr – andronicusmax