High Score

A few days ago, I found myself standing directly in front of another major flare. I knew exactly what was in store for me; there was no way to avoid what was going to happen during the next hour or so.

A funny thing happened though. Instead of getting panicked, I decided to get prepared.

I told myself to latch onto something that would help pull me through the extreme pain that I was soon going to experience; something that I could focus on in order stay oriented while being thrust into the confusion that often accompanies major flares. On this particular morning, that something happened to be the thought of my afternoon tutoring sessions with my students.

And right at that moment, I laughed to myself. You see, my mental thoughts had transformed into visual images of alligators, trap doors, scorpions, and ladders. I could get through this, as long as I concentrated. Grabbing onto that rope that was now hanging in front of me, and swinging across some of the upcoming rough patches, would no doubt make things just a little bit easier.

I was actually living inside a game of ‘Pitfall’, one of my absolutely most favorite video games from the early ’80s. (Let’s hear is for pixelated graphics!) And in a weird sort of way, it was actually sort of fun.

Most importantly, it worked. I got through my flare, more easily that I ever had before.

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

You might also enjoy Flare! www.rheumatoidarthritisguy.com/2009/06/b-i-n-g-o/

7 Comments
7 comments
  1. Lene says:

    I love that! So much of coping is being able to identify a pattern and even if you just have a few minutes, to get mentally prepared. That you’re coping tool was a mental version of a videogame is just awesome! Congratulations for not giving in to fear.

    It makes me wonder, though. Do you think that you finding a way to control it (sort of) instead of getting afraid or angry played a role in affecting the severity or duration of the flare?

  2. fridawrites says:

    This may sound odd, but your post brought tears to my eyes for this reason:
    My son is autistic, 11, and like me, has arthritis. The 2 of those together are very difficult for him and he has difficulty pushing through the fatigue sometimes. Since computers and gaming are his focus, your post will be very helpful to him in explaining what I haven’t been able to about how we can push through temporarily.

  3. Deb aka murphthesurf says:

    I also love the older graphic games (am I dating myself here?) and can so relate to your visualization to overcome the flare or get through it. Typically my flares tend to last for days rather then hours and I can usually handle the first few hours but then it wears on my mind and becomes a real fight as the time trudges on. I love to use comedies to take my mind off the pain and music also :-) I so enjoy this site :-)

  4. adrienne says:

    RA Guy you are the best! You and I have something in common, trying to find a ways to occupy your mind to get through the pain. I love your story and the Flare game. You are so creative! Thanks!

  5. RA Guy says:

    Lene, I hadn’t thought about whether or not this affected the duration/severity of the flare, but it’s certainly something I’ll think about more. I have notices that the worst part of my flares seems to not last as long as they used to.

    Heather, in the past I’ve had flares that last days or weeks. I recently had two really good months and have only started having more problems during the past few weeks, but for the time being my flares have only been lasting for an hour or two. Between flares, I’m quite sore. And so far, I’ve managed to keep my energy levels in check

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