RA Daydreams: The Distance Shrinker

RA Daydreams: The Distance Shrinker

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.

Disease is nothing if not humility-inducing.

Disease brings our bodies’ vulnerabilities and limitations to the forefront. When living with a chronic illness like rheumatoid arthritis/rheumatoid disease (RA/RD), one’s physical limitations become readily apparent.

There are simple tasks that become difficult or nearly impossible when I’m in a flare. Lifting a gallon of milk, carrying my purse, pushing a loaded grocery cart, and holding my child can all become Herculean tasks when I’m in a lot of pain.

In addition to the increased weight everything seems to have when my body hurts, distances seem to stretch like silly putty in a child’s hands. When each step is painful, a needed item being a distance of 100 steps can feel very far away indeed.

Traversing distances easier

Wouldn’t it be nice if during flares we could have tiny, lightweight “distance shrinkers” that would help us traverse distances much easier? For instance, during a recent flare, I was lying in bed on my heated mattress pad, hoping my muscle relaxer would kick in. When I realized the flexeril was not going to be enough, I decided to take a tramadol. Even though the tramadol bottle was on the nightstand, rolling over on my inflamed hip and shuffling toward the nightstand was agonizing. With my distance shrinker, I could point it at the space between the nightstand and me, and instantly the pill bottle would be within my arm’s reach.

Similarly, when needing to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water from the kitchen, rather than hobble across the room or the house, I could point my distance shrinker and take a couple of labored steps instead of dozens.

I would also use my distance shrinker to temporarily eliminate the triangular space between my bed, my dresser, and my closet. This would allow me to remain seated on my bed while getting dressed in the morning, no longer groaning at having to stand back and walk to get my shoes after the work of retrieving my socks from the drawer.

The distance shrinker for the world

The distance shrinker would be even handier when venturing out into the world. Once I got in my car, rather than suffer the 10-15 minute drive to work with my right hip, knee, and ankle protesting at the pressure of operating the gas and brake pedals, I could shrink the distance between my home and office and be there in 60 seconds.  After parking the car, I could once again eliminate most of the walk from my parking spot to the building’s entrance. Upon reaching the staircase, I could shrink the distance of each step so that instead of lifting my foot twelve inches I could barely raise it off the ground.

Yes, having a distance shrinker would make flares more tolerable. However, since this dream technology is just that, I’ll instead have to remember to (gently) pat myself on the back for each trip to the kitchen I achieve, each morning routine I complete, and each journey to work I make in the face of this challenging disease.

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.

Comments

View Comments (8)
  • Mamawsherbear
    1 month ago

    Hi everyone ,hope everyone is having a GOOD,day painfree (i know this is wishfull thinking on my part so ill just pray for us all ,i do this everynight)Im so glad im not alone in this ,that im not crazy for daydreaming some of things i daydream about i always wish i was like Samantha out of bewitched and i could just twitch my nose lol.I do have a little helper my 9 year old granddaughter whom ive raised since birth lives with me she is a big help she runs and gets things for me ALOT,and she helps around the house sadly she doesnt know me healthy this breaks my heart summer is over and shes back at school during the day i really miss her not because she helps me but because shes my ever present conpanion my little bestie .She has been a big help in ways she wont understand til shes older and what i mean by that is when she was born i was in a very dark place i was so depressed about my illness and the ever present pain i have other things wrong besides the RA/RD which is enough by itself ,but anyway she needed someone to care for her so i had to put my big girl panties on and take care of a newborn her mother excuse me for saying this is worthless i tried everything to get her mother on board she just is a selfish selfcentered person who only cares about herself my granddaughter is my sons child but he was only a child himself when Bri was born so grandma had to step up to the plate im glad i was here my son is doing well now and is a good daddy he still lives at home but lets face it Bri is bonded to me her mother is not in the picture ,sorry i know i got off track .All i was trying to say is we all need a helper and i hope you all have someone.People who dont deal with this disease or really any painful disease they do not understsnd that it hurts just to get up and go potty its really sad.love you all

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    1 month ago

    Hey Mamawsherbear,

    Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you and your granddaughter have a special bond, and I’m glad that she is able to help you. I agree that the Bewitched nose twitch would come in very handy! We can all daydream together.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Tamara

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    1 month ago

    I have a personal distance shrinker of sorts. I credit my wife with shrinking my distance form one place to another, because she is willing to drive. I am not really a big fan of driving at all. I view as a place to get from one place to another. i take no pleasure in it these days. I will when I have to but it is not my favorite thing.

    Ahh, riding and looking out the window shrinks my distances by at least half.

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    1 month ago

    Hi Rick,

    That’s so wonderful that your wife does most of the driving. While I do find riding easier than driving, I must say my appreciation of being out on the road has decreased drastically thanks to RA/RD. Every little bump in the road . . .

    Thanks for sharing how your wife’s support helps you. Gratitude to those who make our journey with RA – both the symbolic one and the literal one of getting from one place to another when in pain – is important.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Tamara

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    1 month ago

    Type 3’s – I like that! Yes, we do need a term for our helpers.

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    1 month ago

    In diabetes we call our support people Type 3’s. RD needs a term like that.

  • NPEOttawa
    1 month ago

    I hear ya. I’ve often wished I could fly, like I do in my dreams (on good nights, when I sleep long enough to dream). Sometimes, I swing from the telephone wires and fly way up above the earth and long distances. But sometimes, I just levitate a foot off the floor, and glide to where I want to be. This kind of flying would be so useful on a day like today, when I just need to get to the kitchen and bathroom a few times.

  • Tamara Haag moderator author
    1 month ago

    Hi NPEOttawa,

    Yes, flying would be amazing! You’ve just given me a new thing to daydream about!

    Thanks for sharing your experience, as it does help us to know we’re not alone. I hope you got a lot of rest yesterday and are feeling a little bit better.

    Gentle hugs,
    Tamara

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