60-Second Guide To Rheumatoid Arthritis

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60 Second Guide to RA

During the past few years, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy has read page after page (after page) of information about rheumatoid arthritis. I have often found many of the explanations to be somewhat dry and scientific, somewhat devoid of a real human voice of what it’s like to live with rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes I  have difficulty getting through a multiple page article with all of the medical jargon and explanations – and I live with this illness!

I have also hoped for a short (yet comprehensive) non-technical explanation of rheumatoid arthritis that I can use to share with friends and family. On many occasions, I have struggled while trying to describe what rheumatoid arthritis is, exactly what an autoimmune illness is,  and how rheumatoid arthritis differs from osteoarthritis.

During the past few days, I decided to put together my own guide. (Yes, I was just looking for an excuse to make some more little cartoon graphics!) No medical dictionary is required to read this guide, it has lots of colorful graphics, just a dash of humor, and the best part – it only takes a minute to read. (A countdown timer is included – really!)

Please read my 60-Second Guide To RA, and let me know what you think. (I have also added a permanent link on the top navigation bar.) You can also download a pdf version of this guide.

Please don’t forget to share with friends and family! Together we can increase awareness of rheumatoid arthritis – it only takes a minute!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy

Sunday Break

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Because there is no such thing as taking too many breaks!


Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy turns 1 month old today. Thank you readers, it’s been a blast! My first post: Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy Saves The World!


Lake Titicaca, located at the top of the world – literally. (12,600 feet above sea level, to be exact.) Double rainbows. Reed boats. Inca ruins. Andes Mountains. Islands. Winter solstice moon. Fisherman’s boat.

lake titicaca


I’m a few chapters into The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. Fukú: a curse or doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and Doom of the New World.


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

A Love Supreme

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A Love Supreme is a ten minute black and white documentary film produced by Nilesh Patel in 2001. This film was a tribute to Patel’s mother, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis. The goal was to create a record of her skilled hands preparing samosas, in case they became affected by RA in the future.

“Seen on a big screen, the results are astonishing. The peas are the size of mountain boulders. Each slice of potato peel is like a ski slope. Corn juice dripping from a cob has the Adamic beauty of a fresh spring. Spices lie like desert sands. The pastry is kneaded and rolled and peeled by Indumati, whose fingers now appear huge. Her hands become historical texts that tell hard, complicated stories about female labor, migration, domestic economy. We peer at the thick veins and coarse skin, but also at signs of personality and prettiness – bangled wrists, hennaed curlicues. Samosa-making has been transformed into an epic activity.” –Gastronomica Winter 2004

This film is available for viewing at the BBC Film Network. (Real Player or Windows Media Player required.)

I have added a calendar on the sidebar to keep track of events related to disability and the arts. There are quite a few disability film festivals around the world throughout the year, so you might want to check to see if any of them are going to be playing in your area.

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

Changing The Rules Of The Game

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As Memorial Day weekend approaches, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy got to thinking about all of the summer games he used to play when he was a little boy. This was always such a wonderful time of the year! School was over, and the day was filled with endless days of playing outside with other kids in the neighborhood. Meals were mere annoyances that required us to run back into the house and take a break from playing. Best of all, we could stay outside until after the street lamps turned on…now that was the big life!

When we were forced back indoors – either due to the late hour or rain showers – not all was lost. There were board games of all types, such as Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Clue, and Parcheesi. I even remember having hours on end of fun with a barrel full of plastic monkeys. I can’t believe I’m admitting this publicly.

And then there was the game that was all the rage when I was young: Twister. With the large plastic mat full of large colored dots and the corresponding spinner, we had so much fun seeing who could get into the most precarious position without falling down.

Of course, this was back then – when all of my joints were still working correctly. Now, the thought of playing Twister does not have the appeal that is used to. (I wonder why…) And think about it: about the only thing the spinner might be good for now would be to add a little spontaneity to my checkups during my visit with my rheumatologist.

Right foot? Swollen.

Left hand? Slight inflammation. Moderate pain.

Right hand? Visible disfigurement in the wrist. Bright red knuckles. Lots of pain.

Left foot? Painful to step on. Lots of heel and ankle pain. Puffy appearance.

So I started thinking – If today I went back to playing the outdoor games that filled my summer days when I was young, what modifications would I have to make to accommodate my rheumatoid arthritis?

Here goes…

Hide and Seek

First of all, the person doing the counting would have to double, maybe even triple, the count. (How does seven-hundred-thirty-three -Mississippi sound to you?) Before I got into any particular space to hide, I would have to remind myself that I have to eventually get out of the space. During the hide, I would have to stay as still as humanly possible – I wouldn’t want any creaking joints to give me away.

Red Light/Green Light

Definitely need to add a yellow light.


As I already don’t feel like I’m constant being hit by a (lead) ball all the time??? Okay, I’ll give it a try – as long as the person throwing the ball is blindfolded.


Only if the lines are drawn on the sidewalk with permanent paint. Chalk would be a dead giveaway – too many streaks. None of this one foot thing – both feet are going into every square. And I’m walking.

Jump Rope

I’m not even going there…


I should be able to kick, with my ankle guards, heel cups, and power shoes.  Chances are I’ll even hit it out of the park, with my semi-bionic leg and all. But I definitely need a pinch runner (from home base, that is).

Leap Frog

Rules? What was the point of this game, anyways? No point, no play.

Mother May I?

“Mother May I take a giant step, but first may I get my crutches, and since I can’t really take a giant step can I replace it with four of my current steps instead? And am I allowed breaks?” (Rant: one of the most unfair games of all time…if the person was mad at you for any reason, you were practically guaranteed that any request you made – no matter how nicely – would be answered with a “no”.)

Thumb Wrestling


Quiet Game

Finally, this is my type of game! No modification required. Growing up as one of five kids, shouting and playing in the station wagon (there were no minivans back then) we were such the sucker whenever my mother asked us if we wanted to play the Quite Game. To this day, she still says those were some of her best dollars ever spent…

Is there anything I forgot?

No matter where this weekend may find you, be sure to make it  a great one. Don’t forget that inside each on of us there still is a little kid – so go play!

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