Seven Spooky Surprises About RA

In honor of Halloween, I thought it would be entertaining to think about spooky aspects of living with rheumatoid arthritis. It feels like every day I notice some strange or scary aspect of this disease. But instead of being frightened, I’d rather poke some fun at the unusual effects of RA.

  • Random elbow pain—Why does it happen that I’m sitting quietly and BAM, sharp and random elbow pain strikes! What did I ever do to my elbow? Why does my RA find it irresistible for attack? Frankly, my elbow is not that interesting or well used. Yet suddenly it strikes and I feel that instead of an Achilles heel, I have an Achilles elbow.
  • Having a freakishly small mouth—Most people who know me will disagree with this statement. They are familiar with my verbal agility. However, my jaw and mouth are actually smaller than normal due to my RA because it stunted my bone growth as I grew up. The biggest problem is when I go to the dentist. They always seem so befuddled by my small mouth!
  • TRex-like arms—Akin to the ferocious T-Rex dinosaur, I have short arms. While I don’t overcompensate with the angry temper, it is annoying not to be able to reach objects on shelves or across much distance to shake someone’s hand because of arm contractions. Usually I just proclaim my innocence: Sorry about that! Short arms!
  • Veins that play hide and seek—This could actually be an asset for thwarting vampires. However, in real life it is literally a huge pain to have small veins that roll and hide. Very few people can actually successfully tap my vein for blood tests and other medical needs. Unfortunately most these tests have to go into my hand, which is painfully unpleasant.
  • Being haunted at night with aches and pains—Like a rolling stone I toss and turn! Even on a good night’s sleep I can’t stay in one place due to aches in my joints. I have to change sleeping positions several times a night to take pressure off my joints. It’s become so natural I don’t notice that much, but I’m sure this is a lifelong sleeping habit.
  • People can’t tell which way I am pointing—Oh for the love of crooked joints! Try as I might, I cannot point in any way that is discernible to others. My fingers, hands, and arms bend with deformities for which I cannot compensate. Good luck if you depend on me to point the way! Better to take out your phone and ask the GPS.
  • Tough to get on the broom!—On the worst RA days I just want to hop on my broom and fly off to the quiet escape of my own private tower-lair. Only here am I free to enjoy the bubble of my caldron and the caw of my flying monkeys. But on my flare days I just can’t handle getting on the broom, my joints ache too much. Just kidding! I totally have an RA accessible broomstick.

Hoping you get a giggle or can relate to some of these RA tricks. I’m off to grab some chocolate treats and enjoy my Halloween, no matter the haunting of RA. Please add your own tricks and treats in the comments below.

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