The RA Time Suck
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a drain in all regards; the pain and fatigue it causes drain away energy; the medical care as well as lost wages and opportunities it often involves, drain away money; its symptoms and treatment both drain away time.
RA flares are time-consuming
A flare is perhaps the most obvious source of RA time suck. I can have detailed plans made weeks or months ahead of time but, like a vigorous shake on an etch-a-sketch, RA will erase my itinerary by rendering me unable to do anything. The increased pain and fatigue of an RA flare can make it hard to get out of bed, much less leave the house.
Playing catchup after a flare
RA has grounded me many times, causing me to miss work, trips, special events, and what-would-have-been productive weekends. After a flare, I always feel behind after the days, or in some cases even weeks, of being able to do little more than get through the day.
Time spent recovering from frequent illness
Not only do the symptoms of RA steal away time, so do the frequent illnesses that often accompany it. As RA is an autoimmune condition, those of us with this disease tend to get sick more often because our immune systems are busy sending friendly fire at our joints and tissues instead of focusing solely on germs and viruses.
Susceptibility to flus, colds, and infections
Furthermore, many drugs used to treat RA are immunosuppressant drugs. These can be very effective in limiting the immune system’s attack on one’s body, but they also reduce the immune system’s ability to do the job it is designed to do. This leads to even more colds, flus, and infections, which can land me in bed or on the couch even when I’m not in a flare.
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?