It's annoying when people who don't live with RA compare their aches and pains to that of RA

We All Have that Friend...

...The one who tells the whole gruesome story of how they twisted their thumb or sigh dramatically when they trip on the pavement and “twist” their ankle. And all the while, expressing vehemently how they knew it was going to happen and how they could have stopped it. Then, after the initial shock of injury, we are constantly reminded of the “longest recovery for this specific injury because it was just so bad!”

Cue eye rolling.

Honestly, I think this friend is just too funny. Everything is hugely dramatic and makes for a great story. I know these injuries are not extremely serious. And, I sort of care; the first three times. I mean, it is hard to feel sorry for someone with a splinter when I “accidentally” staple the pad of my thumb. (I wanted to know whether there were fewer nerves in the pad on the palm than on the actual finger. Don’t judge me, we didn’t have Google back then!)

It is hard to feel sorry for someone who had “debilitating” injuries all the time. I'm sure some of them are really painful but just like everything else, hearing about them day in and day out lessens their severity.

Who hurts more?

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, this friend started a competition with me. A competition of who hurt more and how often.

Now, I’ve never been one to harp on about pain but every so often I do have to make my disabilities known. Then, out of nowhere, this friend ups the ante. Her knees hurt so much she can't get up five steps to my flight of stairs or she is just so tired she takes TWO naps during the day or she spends the weekend icing her affected body parts.

Once I talked about how difficult the first few weeks of physical therapy because I had to go back to basics (ie. Balance work) and she said she couldn’t even do balance work because she was in such bad shape.

How would she react if she had a chronic illness (sorry, chronic complaining is not an illness). I mean, really…I know a bunch of Spoonies who moan about every little thing and how tough life is, and that’s fair. But then, they don’t understand why people don’t want to listen after a while.

Would she be that person? Or would the sheer weight of real constant pain with real disability and consequence just make her head implode? Before, I could listen to her. Now, every time she harps on I get really annoyed. And, I mean, I’m sure she is hurt or injured but come on! If you really knew true pain, I think you’d think twice about complaining so much…Right?

Being aware of everything

But, then, it begs the question. Am I a hypochondriac? Albeit, a silent hypochondriac but one nonetheless. I am aware of every ache, every side-effect, every potential deformity. I always blame my meds (usually the steroid) but I catalog everything! Generally, I sweep the symptoms aside and blame them on my medications (usually the steroid). And, thankfully, none have been very serious. But, I run to my rheumatologist with questions more often than I would like.

I like to think I’m not a hypochondriac just because I’m not doing it for attention. Some side effects, some symptoms are dangerous so I think it’s better to err on the side of caution…

But, am I?

What do you all think?? Let me know in the comments!

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