RA Daydreams: Fatigue-Melt-Away Tablets
Last updated: July 2020
Living with rheumatoid arthritis can feel like a nightmare, which sometimes leads me to daydream about things that would make this journey a little easier.
Pain and inflammation are the A-listers that get all the attention when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis/rheumatoid disease (RA/RD). However, fatigue is a symptom of RA/RD that can be as problematic as the aforementioned superstars.
Dealing with chronic fatigue symptoms
Fatigue is more profound than the tiredness or weariness that many people without chronic conditions are familiar with. It is a multi-faceted symptom that can present as physical heaviness, severe exhaustion, mental fogginess, and lack of alertness. Like other RA/RD symptoms, fatigue can present unexpectedly and at very inconvenient times. The effects of this can be disruptive, embarrassing, confusing, and frustrating.
Wishing for a way to make it disappear
The challenges of RA/RD fatigue make me long for a way to instantly disperse it. Wouldn’t it be incredible if there was a small tablet we could put under our tongues that would instantly make the fatigue disappear? A pill that would melt away this symptom as it melted in the mouth could be handy in so many situations.
Uses for the fatigue-melt-away tablet
For example, there is an event that you’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Perhaps it’s a close friend’s wedding, a reunion with college friends, or a booked vacation that has been on your calendar for months.
However, when it comes time to attend the event, instead of excitement your body is flooded with fatigue, feeling like the blood circulating in your body has been replaced with lead. Suddenly the fun event seems like a huge hurdle requiring Herculean effort. With the Fatigue-Melt-Away tablet, you could instantly go from “How will I make it through this?” to “I can’t wait!”
For energy and alertness
Or say you have to give a presentation at work. You’ve been preparing it for weeks, and you’re feeling really good about it. Yet, the morning of the presentation the fatigue is so strong that you are struggling just to make (strong) coffee and get ready for the day.
You try rehearsing the points you’d had memorized, but they seem like they are wrapped in film and tucked away somewhere in your brain where you can’t quite reach them. You become not only worried that you won’t do a great job, but that you will embarrass yourself in front of your supervisor and coworkers, appearing as a liability instead of as an asset.
If you could take a Fatigue-Melt-Away pill, suddenly you would once again have the energy and alertness you had a week earlier when you were putting together the presentation. The facts and figures you know so well would once again be accessible, and you could present them with energetic confidence.
Fatigue-related brain fog
This miracle tablet would also come in really handy in social situations. Perhaps you are at a neighborhood function. It sounded like a nice idea when you RSVP’d but, since then, fatigue has set upon you as if you’re wearing one of those heavy aprons technicians put on you during x-rays. This leaves you feeling pinned to the bed and dreading the event.
However, you’ve missed the past two neighborhood get-togethers due to RA/RD symptom flare-ups, and you’re worried you’ll be viewed as unfriendly if you keep missing. Plus, your kids know there will be a bouncy castle there and really want to go. You summon up the dregs of your energy and take your kids to the event. While approaching the crowd, you meet the eyes of a neighbor that you’ve known for years. However, the fatigue is like a vault that has locked her name away in your memory.
Fortunately, you have a Fatigue-Melt-Away tablet. As you pop it in your mouth, you immediately feel the vault in your memory unlocking, with names of neighbors returning to your recall. The heaviness leaves you, and you are able to spend an hour pleasantly conversing at the event.
For getting through our daily routine
Perhaps it is just an ordinary day. There isn’t a special event or task, but the fatigue is making getting through your daily routine feel like a marathon. It’s as if you are on a planet with heavier gravity, and each minor activity takes far more effort than it would on Earth.
By 3:00 in the afternoon, you’re wondering how you can possibly stay upright another moment. Your body and your brain crave rest and retreat. You would do anything to be able to temporarily disappear into a cave filled with pillows and free of people and responsibilities. Yet, you still have two hours at work to make it through before you can crash land on your couch.
With a Fatigue-Melt-Away pill, you could suddenly have the heavy clouds of fatigue part from your skies, allowing the energy of the sun to shine down upon you. Those two hours ahead of you now feel like the home stretch of the day rather than seeming impossibly long.
The need to treat chronic fatigue
Yes, a Fatigue-Melt-Away pill would be so convenient, removing at least temporarily the challenges that come with the difficult symptom that is RA/RD fatigue. When fatigue is at its worst, I would gladly charge a hefty premium copay to my credit card if only such a pill existed.
What kind of situations would you love a Fatigue-Melt-Away for? How does fatigue impact you? Are there other aspects of this symptom you would add to those described?
Did you know rheumatologist Dr. Donica Baker is answering community questions?
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