Woman standing with hands on hips smirking and her shadow is falling with phone and glasses flying

Embarrassing, Funny RA

Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease; we all know this and, because of the seriousness of the disease, it’s not a joking matter. But sometimes in the face of so much challenge, the best thing to do is have a sense of humor about it all. In my years of living with JRA, I’ve found myself in more than a few embarrassing and funny predicaments.

RA: the notorious prankster

At work

Like the time I dropped an expensive piece of therapy equipment as I was walking over to my client at the VA hospital and my client says in a deadpan voice, “Slippery little suckers aren’t they?!”

Help from strangers

Or the time I went to get gas, only to discover that my friend who had helped me the last time I needed gas put the gas cap on so tight that I couldn’t twist it off. After staring forlornly at my gas cap for a minute, I looked up to see a 90-year-old man with a fedora cap and a jaunty cane hobbling my way. He tipped his hat and said, “Looks like you need a hand” and proceeded to open my gas cap, and then hobble back to his car.

Social situations

Or the time I tried on skinny jeans at the local mall and found that taking them off was impossible so I had to get my boyfriend to come in the dressing room and help me. Or the time that I bled all over a white rug because I was on anti-inflammatories and seemed to constantly sprout blood. To make this more embarrassing. I was in Australiaat a party of a friend of a friend, and everyone had to stop what they were doing and follow my bloody trail around the house to get the stains out.

More awkward moments with RA

Or the time I tried on high heels and teetered for a minute before falling on my butt.

Or when I was working and so exhausted every morning that I came to work with my shirt on inside out.

Or when I was working in a hospital and trying to ice my knee at the nurses' station without anyone noticing, and the physiatrist in charge comes over to talk about a patient. He wasn’t a very friendly or approachable person and when I stood up to talk I had water stains all over one pant leg. Oops…

Or when I gamely said yes to going rock climbing with a group of guys only to find myself falling off the rope (I was only a few feet up) because I discovered I had no arm strength a little too late.

Or when my knee envy (my knees have been swollen for most of my life so a nice pair of knees makes me green with jealousy) is so strong that I blurt out, “You have the nicest knees!” to an unexpecting stranger only to get funny looks.

Or, speaking of knee envy and skinny jeans, when I try on said skinny jeans only to have them get stuck at the knees.

Keeping your sense of humor with RA

RA is no joke, but it sure has put me in some funny circumstances. It has humbled me so much throughout the course of my life that I’ve never been “smooth” or “cool”. In fact, I’m just the opposite - sometimes I relate to Bridget Jones a bit too much! I’ve never been able to follow fashion trends unless they involve crocs, and forget about hairstyles - I’d love to braid my hair in a waterfall braid but whenever I try, it looks like a rat's nest.

Being humbled by RA

But in a way, being humbled every day, not being able to look as polished or put together as I’d like, and never trying to be trendy or cool has been an unexpected gift from the JRA. I’ve been able to focus more on what makes me happy instead of trying to fit in to make others happy. I’ve learned to laugh at myself at a young age. I’ve learned to give myself a break. And most importantly, I’ve learned that JRA, as serious and as scary as it is, doesn’t have to take my sense of humor or completely steal my joy.

What funny predicaments has your RA put you in? I’m sure you have a few stories yourself…

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