“In this hospital based survey, one in three patients with rheumatoid arthritis reported falling in the previous 12 months. Falls were associated with self reported impairment in lower limb function.”
Just yesterday, I was talking with someone about how my biggest challenge of living with rheumatoid arthritis no longer seems to be how to cope with the chronic pain, but has instead become how to manage the disabilities that this illness continues to introduce into my life.
It’s not that I’m ignoring my pain. I’m just becoming (I never thought I’d ever say this) used to it…and over the past few months, instead of focusing my thoughts and energies on trying to get rid of this pain, I’ve found myself returning to doing the things that I enjoy. My physical pain never does goes away, but for certain periods of time the mental awareness of my pain actually begins to fade away, as I happily cook away in the kitchen (careful with those sharp knives and heavy pots!) or swim 1000 meters non-stop (as I did this past Friday morning!).
Back to the disability aspect, however. Over this past month, I have (in no certain order) cut my finger, broken a glass, slammed my bad knee against the leg of my desk, dropped numerable items of food, spilled many drinks, accidentally dropped a bench press bar on my forehead (yes, it was as painful as it sounds), and (once again) fallen. This morning, as I walked up the three steps to my front door, I took a tumble.
This fall would have been much worse than it actually was, had I not broken my landing with my right hand. Yup, you’ve got it. One of the weakest joints in my body–my right wrist–took the full brunt of my entire body’s weight earlier today. But I ended up being okay. I anxiously waited for a major flareup during the following couple of hours, but it never arrived.
I have not yet been able to figure out how to prevent such accidents from taking place, but I have come up with a few steps that seem to help me when they do happen.
1. Don’t place blame on myself for my reduced coordination; this is just one more symptom of my RA.
2. Make a mental note of what just happened, and try to figure out things I can do to minimize a recurrence in the future.
3. Immediately confiscate any photos and/or video recordings of said accident, before they are posted on the Internet!
Here’s wishing everyone a happy and accident-free week!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!