RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy 8 Comments

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy spent last night watching the National Spelling Bee, and was blown away with the young kids who correctly spelled difficult word after difficult word. If I were competing, I don’t think I would have even come close to making it to the final round! (Unless, of course,  the “Wheel of Fortune” rule was one of the questions contestants were allowed to ask the judge. May I have a “r” please?)

Had the spelling bee focused on rheumatoid arthritis related words, however, I just might have had a shot at winning the championship trophy. Let me show you why…


Ankylosing Spondylitis.


Sjögren’s Syndrome.


Plantar Fasciitis.

Synovial Fluid.



Hydroxychloroquine. (Oh wait, there’s an easy way to say this: Plaquenil.)

Sulfasalazine. (Oh wait, this too has an easier name: Azulfidine.)


And the list goes on and on…

Seriously folks, who comes up with these names? On top of having to deal with the actual illness of rheumatoid arthritis, we’re also required to be spelling experts? (Never one who wants to be left behind, I think I’ll go ahead and add a  spelling coach to my Team RA.)

(By the way, the winning word in last night’s spelling bee was “Laodicean”, which means indifferent or lukewarm – especially in matters of religion.)

I got to thinking, what exactly does “rheumatoid” mean. After all, I say it and write it multiple times during the day, and I am the Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy. Should I not have a clear understanding of this word “rheumatoid”?

So I went to my bookshelf and pulled out Volume II P-Z of The Compact Edition Of The Oxford English Dictionary and its accompanying magnifying glass. (Those of you who are familiar with this home edition of the OED know that if I was able to do the two tasks I just mentioned, then my wrists are doing much better than they were just a few weeks ago. Now,  if only my knuckles decided to settle down as well…)

Rheumatoid (rū-màtoid), a. [f. Gr. RHEUM (flux, that which flows; a stream; discharge) + OID.] Having the characters of rheumatism. Also, suffering from rheumatism.

Chiefly, in rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease of the joints characterized by changes in the synovial membranes, etc., and resulting in deformity and immobility.

A. R. Garrod Gout AV. 534 Although unwilling to add to the number of names, I cannot help expressing a desire that one might be found for this disease, not implying any necessary relation between it and either gout or rheumatism. Perhaps Rheumatoid Arthritis would answer the object. 1866 Tanner Index of Diseases 233 Rheumatoid Arthritis…Synon. Rheumatic Gout: Chronic Rheumatic Arthritis. 1871 Practicioner VII. 87 The judicious practicioner will regulate the action of the bowels of his rheumatoid patient by proper diet. 1876 Bartholow Mat. Med. (1879) 224 The joints become the seat of rheumatoid pain.

So Rheumatoi-dal a., Rheumatoi-dally adv.

1889 Lancet 9 Nov. 947/2 Repeated rheumatic attacks may beget a condition commonly called rheumatoidal. Ibid., It is of such sufferers that we constantly ask ourselves..is this case going off rheumatoidally?

Now, you too can become a RA Spelling Bee Champion!

Are there any other hard to spell rheumatoid arthritis words that I forgot to list?

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

Comments 8

  1. Erika

    I am an excellent speller but I’m nothing compared to those National Spelling Bee kiddos. But when it comes to pronouncing those words I’m up a creek without a paddle! I’m glad you seem to be having a good day:-)

  2. Cathy

    I am not the greatest speller anyhow and remember having to write out “rheumatologist” because I was typing it so often and misspelling it. It is a word I would be happy to still not know how to spell.

    Congratulations on holding up the dictionary! Your knuckles will want to be part of the action soon too!

  3. Miss Waxie

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, able to pick up entire OED’s in a single swift movement!

    You really are a super hero. Thanks proves it. (Also, how super cool that you have one! Thanks to the internet, getting gigantic dictionaries has gone out of style for graduation gifts, so I am without a giant book of spelling knowledge. Guess I’ll just have to work harder to win that Bee!)

    – Miss Waxie

  4. Kim H

    I have to be honest: “rheumatoid” reminds me of “hemorrhoid.” To paraphrase/play upon an old commercial, “avoid the ‘oid.'”

  5. Lisa Emrich

    Actually I’m quite fond of the word sulfasalazine. It makes sense to me and looks just the way it sounds. That and methotrexate are my best buds.

    Here’s a question though. If the word has an umlaut in it, are you supposed to spell it with the vowel plus the e or just the vowel? Hmmmmm……I don’t remember there being an example of that in the Bee.

  6. Post
    RA Guy

    Kim H, so funny – that thought passed my mind as I was writing this post.

    It seems that by default all of us living with RA are forced to improve our spelling, no? 🙂

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