Counting My Blessings: Good Days
While the holidays can be wonderful, all the holiday cheer can also highlight the aspects of our lives that make it hard to feel cheerful. RA can bring out the Grinch in me, so inspired by the Whos down in Whoville who sing in spite of their loss, I am challenging myself to think about all that I can be grateful for. This series will spotlight the elements that make life with RA easier for me to bear.
Oh the glory of a good day! Sure, the bad days demand our attention, screaming in our faces with pain, fatigue and cancelled plans. However, these bad days also put the low-pain, decent-energy days in stark contrast, allowing us to celebrate what people without chronic health issues may take for granted. When I have a good day, I notice the extra pep in my step, the increased stamina for an activity, and the joy of being able to focus on whatever is at hand.
I recently went to a cocktail party fundraiser for a local homeless shelter. I wanted to pair my new dress with something a little fancier than flats, so I splurged on some low-wedge shoes that give the appearance of having higher heels. Even though the rise is only a couple of inches, I wasn’t confident that I would last in my new shoes, as having my feet in any position other than flat on the ground can cause problems for my toes, knees, and hips. However, it happened to be a good day. I was on my feet most of the evening, chatting with acquaintances I hadn’t seen in a long time and meeting new people. Yet, in spite of the hours spent standing on the marble floor of the grand ballroom, at the end of the evening and the following morning I only had mild pain in my feet. In my life, that is a huge win.
To someone without a chronic illness, an evening of standing up might not seem like a big deal, and may even seem like an inconvenience, but to me, it is cause for celebration. My RA was still with me that night; for instance, I had to focus on finding the coat check upon arrival, as the weight of my coat over my arm was causing my elbow to ache. Yet, this was very mild, and easy to cope with. On the drive home I reflected on how lucky I was to have a good day coincide with this event, which allowed me to be more social and feel a little more feminine than I would have if I’d been wearing flats and grounded to a chair all evening.
Of course, what constitutes a good day for me may constitute a fairy tale for someone with RA that has progressed further than mine has. I am aware that some of my fellow RA sufferers could never make it through an evening standing on a marble floor, or even make it through hours of sitting in a chair at such an event. I wish I could give everyone a “Get Out of RA Free” card, to be able to enjoy at least a day without significant impacts of the disease. Unfortunately that isn’t in my power, so instead I send out well wishes that everyone may at least have some good days, whatever a “good day” may look like to each unique individual.
Check-in: As we start a new year, how are you feeling?