A red and white striped open umbrella, rain pouring down with flames in the bottom corners.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Ode to Dr. Seuss

Rain, rain, go away!
Don’t come back another day.
You make me ache and hurt so much
I want to take you out with a punch!

There are puddles everywhere
And even small lakes over there.
Holding an umbrella hurts my hands
My rain jacket feels like constricting bands.

Rain makes my RA symptoms worse

Yesterday, it rained all day. Last night, it rained all night. Today, it is pouring hard. There are some people with rheumatoid arthritis who feel better on rainy days.

I am not one of them. Holding my eyes open and pretending to work is harder than ever today. Caffeine has not made a dent in the fatigue. Most of my muscles feel like someone pounded on them all day.

Signs of a coming storm

The strange thing is that I know it’s raining before I ever open my eyes or hear a sound.

Body pain

My body tells me in many, lovely ways. “Oh, you want to roll over? That’s going to hurt and take more work today.”

When I finally make it to sitting on the side of the bed? “Don’t you dare put your feet down! Do you know how much that will hurt?” And my favorite, “You’re walking? What are you, an idiot?? Get back in bed!”

Brain fog and tiredness

Worst of all is the brain fog. Everything is grey. Outside, inside, in my mind, everything is grey. My eyes don’t want to open, my neck doesn’t want to turn, and my back is in a vise.

Making it through a workday

When this happens on a workday, I am forced to use my body against its will. So I get up, shuffle to the bathroom, take the acetaminophen, put on the comfy shoes and clothes, pack up my meds, make the coffee, and head to work.

I function as well as I can, counting the minutes until I can go home.

How I cope at home

When rain happens on the weekend, I shuffle to the bathroom, take the acetaminophen, crawl back into bed and spend the day there. The warmth of my memory foam bed and dog snuggles soothes the pain.

Because the brain fog doesn’t matter when I’m at home, I read “fluff” books. A fluff book was my mother’s term for light fiction. I love to read and have an assortment of books on the Kindle app on my phone. On days like this, fluff books are my go-to. Holding my phone is much easier than handling my tablet or reader. The lighting and font are easy to adjust.

Also, I value quiet on days like this. No television blaring, no loud talking.

Does the rain make me flare-up?

It can be difficult to differentiate whether this reaction is the beginning of a flare or a response to weather.

Since our brains always tend to track to the worst possibility, it is easy to worry that these symptoms are a flare. I have trained myself not to go down the worry track.

If it is raining, I assume my symptoms are due to the rain. My history of feeling bad on rainy days precedes my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis by twenty plus years.

What about you? Do weather changes affect your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms? What coping mechanisms have you developed? I would love to hear from you.

Virtual hugs and blessings,
Mary Sophia

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