An image of a person calling time out with their hands in the shape of a T.

I Call 'Time Out'!

If you could call “time out” on your Rheumatoid Arthritis for 24 hours (with no repercussions the following day), how would you spend it?

I really wish we didn’t have a disease that plagued us every second of every minute of every hour of every day of our lives. I wouldn’t wish illness on anyone but there are some diseases (and I’m not talking chronic conditions) that cycle through and then disappear from view or feeling. Ours doesn’t. RA is a persistent little fellow that clings on for dear life and leaves destruction in its wake (very similar to a parasite!)

My wish list?

I rarely wish for things because I grew up learning I was the master of my own destiny (boy, was I wrong) but there is one thing I desire: a “time-out”. I can’t wish for RA’s eradication altogether because there is some genie rule against it but I could easily wish for a brief break from its woes.

Sitting down and actually thinking about what I would do with twenty-four pain- and medication free, full mobility, fear-free hours is actually really hard! After eight years of the constant reminder of this disease, living RA-free is hard to imagine.

The first thing that comes to mind is a really long nap. I don’t remember the last time I slept through the night, even though, generally speaking, my sleep hygiene is pretty good. Is that a waste of my 24 hours? I want to say yes and no because knowing me, I would sleep for a solid eight (if not more!). Yes, because that only leaves me 16 hours and no because we all know I need it!

But, really, what would I do? What would you do?

I would climb 30 routes for my 30th birthday. I would work on my bouldering skills and lead-climb without fear of fracturing my spine. I would hike part of the Appalachian Trail and revel in all my scrapes, bruises and sore muscles. I would go on a backpacking trip, kayak and carry my boat down to the river. I would…I’ve already run out of time haven’t I?

I would eat all the things. I would eat French fries and mashed potatoes without flaring. I would scarf down baked potatoes with everything on them without nausea. I would eat my favorite salty foods. I would eat all the chocolate and drink all my favorite coffee milkshakes without a care in the world.

I would take my dog for a long walk and tone my legs; I would brush my cats in one go with their favorite brush and not suffer from severe allergies. I would roughhouse with my puppy and play Tug-of-War until she tired out, which would take 24 hours on its own but I wouldn't be in pain!

I would work a full eight-hour shift as a veterinary technician with no foot or back pain. I would learn a new language without the brain fog. I would sit out in the sun and read through an entire book without moving or breaking out in a rash. I would go on a road trip with all my pets and see the world.

RA won't stop me

I am well aware I ran out of time somewhere along the Appalachian Trail but I was on a roll and pretended 24 hours was actually an infinite amount of time.

There’s nothing stopping me from doing all those things with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Sure, I have to make certain accommodations like giving myself more time than average to complete a task, taking frequent breaks or slathering my body in sunscreen but I can still do whatever I want.

I can do all these things with RA but it would be nice to live just one day without it. And, honestly, I’d be happy with just a normal, mundane one because one day without pain, stiffness, and disability sounds like a fantastic day, indeed.

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