Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.
It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.
When it comes to living with rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy continues to learn many lessons. Some of these lessons have been learned more than once. One of these lessons that has served me well many times in the past, and which often seems to come and go – hand in hand with my pain and flares – has been the lesson of patience.
I have written about patience before. In fact, it is one of My 5 Favorite Things About Living With RA. Today, I will once again write about patience – and I have no doubt that I will address this issue many more times, down the road.
People around me – from casual acquaintances to strangers
Living day in and day out with rheumatoid arthritis, it is sometimes easy to forget that everyone around me does not know all of the details, big and small, about rheumatoid arthritis. In a way this sort of make sense. If someone tells me that they have Behcet’s Disease or Hashimoto’s Disease, chances are that I will have the same blank look on my face that I often see when I tell people that I have rheumatoid arthritis. I might even put my foot in my mouth and inadvertently say something offensive. While I am the type who would take note and do some research as soon as I got on a computer, I have to remind myself that not everyone operates in the same manner. This is yet one more reason to continue doing everything I can to raise awareness of this disease with which we live. Sure, I’d love to have a day where everyone has a good understanding of what RA is – and I have no doubt that RA and other autoimmune diseases are currently undergoing an important awareness movement of their own – but this is not going to happen by itself, and it’s not going to happen overnight. Patience.
People around me – from close friends to family members
Yesterday, I was reminded once again of the importance of honest and open communications with the people who are close to me in my life. I made the following claim: “I think that since I am handling this current flare just a little bit better, that people around me think that my rheumatoid arthritis is getting better.” I was asked: “Have you asked them?” The answer to that question was no. Once again, I was assuming that the people around me should be able to understand what I might be going through at any given moment, without me telling them as much. If I want them to know, it’s my responsibility to tell them. Sure, there are different signs and cues that they can pick up on…just this past week I’ve been told by more than one person that during my worst moments the pain is visible on my face. But they deserve a type of communication beyond my facial expressions, so that they in turn can better know how to reach out and provide me support during these difficult periods. Patience.
Me – my body
Experience has shown me that my body enters into a flare relatively quickly, and that my body requires a much longer period of time to gradually exit a flare. Ask me to diagram any one of the numerous flares I have had, and the shape would basically be the same. Even though I am only a few days into this current flare, today I once again found myself hoping that things will get better in a day or two. I know this is not how it works. I know the scale that I need to use to measure improvement needs to be zoomed in, and what might have seemed like baby steps last week have this week become great strides forward. I add new treatments and medications to my regular care and expect to see drastic results in days. There is one part of this equation that need to be adjusted – maybe it will be better to think in terms of weeks, and not days. This has often worked for me in the past. Patience.
Me – my mind
Things upstairs are once again getting a little foggy. Simple calculations become difficult, and mental notes are often forgotten. During just the last half year all of the following things have happen to me as a result of brain fog: I lost my passport somewhere between baggage claim and the taxi, I lost my money clip by leaving it in the back of a taxi, I turned in my tax forms with a completely wrong set of figures, and so on, and so on. Just yesterday, as I was leaving a taxi, I glanced into the back seat and saw my wallet sitting there, ready to drive away. I thought I had put it into my backpack, but I hadn’t. So while the brain fog is still there, at least I am now doing what I need to in order to try to make things a little better. Double check. Triple check. Write things down. Ask someone else to review things for me. Patience.
Me – my spirit
I admit it. Spirituality is currently the biggest gap in my holistic approach to treating my rheumatoid arthritis. I have a lot of work to do in this area. But, at least, I have admitted as much to myself. Patience.
I start today with a new found sense of patience.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!