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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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