School was an escape for me. I could escape my reality and replace it with one that sounded wonderful (in books at least) or that showed me the parts of other people’s reality that I would have loved for my … Continue reading
Monthly Archives: May 2012
Okay… suffice it to say that I’m tired of being on pager duty, I’m tired of being dumped on, I’m tired of being overlooked and in case the thread of this whole tirade isn’t clear enough… I’m tire. BUT, I’m here. I pretend to paste on a Mary Sunshine smile and I’m here. I know we are all in this at least somewhat together.
This morning I got coffee. I didn’t know when I got it from the caraffe that it was the last in that one. It was. I was going to make another.
Grumpy little coder came in… no coffee in the left one (no matter HOW many times you pump the lid… no matter HOW slowly you try to milk that cow… she’s dry…) after fifty really slow pushes on the shiny silver top he tries the right one… equally as empty… damn… that was the one I was using… oh well… if I can get AROUND you I will make coffee…
Since you are OBVIOUSLY not going to make coffee…
Push… swish spit… push… squish spit… over and over and over…
It wouldn’t irritate me nearly as much if, since you aren’t going to make coffee, you would get out of the way and NOT look at me like “bitch make some coffee”. I know you are male, I know you are a CODER which makes you elite. But dang…
We all live here. You are quite capable of pulling out a filter, dumping out the grounds form the last pot, and filling the filter with shiny new coffee. YOU are one of the elite. YOU are a CODER, you should be talented enough to make a freaking pot of coffee… or at least get your narrow butt out of the WAY so I can.
You’ve heard them. And you have probably gotten extremely irritated by them. Those ever so well meaning people who tell you that, if you would just exercise more (maybe take up yoga) you would be all better and you wouldn’t have to rely on those silly meds any more.
You know the first thing that goes through your mind.
If I could do yoga, don’t you think I would love to do yoga, but I know how badly my body hurts just getting through my day and trying to stick my left big toe in my right ear while standing on my head is just not happening.
Why exactly do you think that people who weigh over 120 pounds, or who hurt or aren’t limber or who aren’t “perfect” don’t take up yoga? Any guesses? Anyone?
Look at the people coming in and out of a Yoga studio. Look at the pages of Yoga magazines. You will get a pretty quick idea of why.
I get the Nook version of Yoga Journal and I read it (albeit with a bent to what I can learn not usually because I want to be able to stick my right toe in my left ear while standing on my head. There are some amazingly well written and insightful articles.
But lately (as I hear more and more people talk about how maybe I could be fixed if I would just <insert quick fix here>) I have been looking as much at the pictures in the magazine to see if I can’t figure out why people I talk to don’t think they can take up Yoga.
OH BOY. Yeah, I know why no one feels they can.
On this month’s cover…
Blonde with not a hair out of place despite doing poses on a cliff side overlooking the ocean. Bare midriff. Tight spandex pants. She might weigh 125 pounds. The only thing missing is a bellybutton ring.
Vintage VW Bug with another 115 pound girl on the roof… in the middle of a field of flowers…
Two women sitting on a wooden deck, laughing together… neither has an ounce of extra flesh…
There are the women at the south pole (I guess they are at the south pole. they are standing on mats outside in the snow next to a pole and it says the south pole) and the quote in THAT bit says “it lets us take our big boots off, feel our feet, and just stretch”. The picture is outside in the snow… Funny… Not one of them has their boots off, but they don’t look like they are freezing, either… despite not one of them weighing over 120 pounds and despite the fact that one is doing tree, one is standing on her head, and one is squatting with her butt inches from the snow. The poses are perfect.
There is the well muscled woman on the side of a granite rock.
OH HEY, a guy. Also buff and fit.
None are sweaty. Not one are doing any kind of adaptation of the perfect poses. NONE look like they hurt or are in any way sweaty or un-perfect.
WOW… I found her!!! The ONLY woman in the last couple issues of the magazine (I haven’t gone any further back but I have a hunch…) on page NINETY TWO of the magazine, back buried in the “continued on” section near the rest of the adverts… The token woman who weighs at least 150 pounds. She is doing a way better job at the pose than I could, but at least it isn’t perfect. She isn’t the stereotypical yogi. SHE IS ON PAGE NINETY TWO. And she is in advertisement for a yoga retreat (not ACTUALLY in an article)… but she is there. Hidden in the back… where you would not likely look if you were flipping through the magazine.
I love the magazine. I read the articles. I hate the fact that no one in any of the articles looks ANYTHING like me.
You can do yoga. Honest. I started yoga right after my diagnosis to try to stay ahead of the pain and the stiffness. You can adapt poses and use props to do them. Some of my favorite parts of yoga are the Pranayamas (like here http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/pranayama/)… breathing… thinking about where stuff hurts, and taking as deep a breath as I can and sending my thoughts and the breath to where the pain and stiffness is. Some days, this is the only yoga I can do (the poses are just so far beyond where I am that I just can’t).
You CAN do yoga.
You don’t have to be perfect at it. You don’t have to look like the stereotypical yogis. You don’t have to wear the “right ” clothes or even do half the poses. The point is more taking time to meet yourself where you are and change the way you are thinking during that short amount of time.
It isn’t going to “fix” you, but it can help make you more comfortable in your own mind. It can help with the way you feel about you, if not the way you feel.
Yoga doesn’t have to have anything to do with being perfect, only meeting yourself where you are and meeting your own needs.
Have you ever had one of those days (hours, weeks, whatever) when everything seems (to you, at least) to come crashing down and you don’t know what to do and you just feel like you can’t do this anymore? You … Continue reading
While everyone that has RA has their own particular flavor of RA, we all share a few things. We all share the fact that we have autoimmune arthritis. We all have some degree of pain and stiffness, many of us have some level of disfigurement or some level of disability. More importantly, we all have to get through each and every day. It made me wonder how many of us have special ways of getting our days done as elegantly as possible.
Up and at-em…
When you wake up, be gentle with yourself. Take stock of your body and how it is feeling and note anywhere that might give you problems. Take a deep breath and relax and don’t push yourself more than you have to. Nothing that you have to do is likely to not be able to wait the extra thirty or even ninety seconds that it takes to wake up to your day.
It is on days when I get caught up in other people’s reality rather than my own, and don’t take this time to take stock and set my mind in a positive direction that I end up having really bad mood and bad outlook kind of days. Just being able to take those few minutes is often all that it takes to make that big of a difference.
It also let’s me in on what other things I might need to do a little differently during my morning due to the interesting things I find. If it is an easy, less stiff, less achy day, I can use whatever cup I want to drink my coffee… Or tea… Or whatever I feel like in the morning.
Coffee cups (beverage cups) are a big deal with me. I’m not sure if genetics plays any part in it or not, but I know that I probably have as many cups and mugs as my grandfather did. They line the tops of my kitchen cupboards and fill (over-fill) my cup cupboard. They fill my heart with smiles because when i use them they bring to mind the situation or the person that is connected to them.
If there are any questions about my hands… I know I need to use one of my ‘bad day’ cups. I buy cups that make me smile. But I buy cups with good days and bad days in mind. A bad day means using maybe a smaller plastic (melmac?) cup. One with a handle that I can hook my thumb through and hold my palm under the cup to help control it and not dump the coffee all over myself (to this end, I also usually add one or two ice cubes to make the beverage of choice less scalding hot… Just in case).
An alternative to the smaller plastic cup is the jumbo sized ceramic one. This one I can slide my whole hand into so I can use bigger, less painful joints. This bigger one has the additional benefit of meaning that ouchy feet have to make fewer trips to the coffee pot.
I even have one or two cups that are plastic and big with huge hand sized handles for really bad days.
I’ve found that it is much easier for me to put the plug in the bathtub with my foot than it is for me to bend over and put it in with my hands. That is as much because of the osteoarthritis in my back than my RA, but it is still a consideration.
I have also discovered that, despite the fact that it kind of tends to irritate people, I take hot baths, often multiple times a day, often even in the warmest weather because my tootsies get really cold. I know that it is a waste of water. I know that it is a waste of time. I don’t care. And really you shouldn’t either. Whatever helps, whatever makes you feel better, that’s what really matters.
I found those stick on the bottom of the bathtub feet and flowers from like the 60s and 70s that keep you from slipping (until they get brittle and cut your feet) in the tub. I have those to keep from falling when I feel inelegant.
On Your Way
Plastic glasses and plates are often more practical than glass. I’ve wrapped some silverware with rubber bands to make it easier to hold when my hands hurt. It isn’t sexy, but it works, and really that matters at least as much as anything.
I’ve wrapped my car keys in several rubber bands to, as a way to make holding them and turning them easier. Fortunately, I can just push the garage door opener and it magically opens, but some days the car keys are a challenge.
I’ve given up trying to wear completely business appropriate shoes to work. With feet that are sometimes okay in the morning but by lunch time are totally not happy with even marginally pinchy shoes, comfortable matters more than sexy. I sometimes wear my Vibrams Five Fingers leather shoes. They look less dorky and are still squishy enough to give when my toes get angry. Sometimes tennies. Heels seem to be a thing of the past.
I’ve found that, even if you don’t have to lay down to zip your super tight jeans, a fork is often a helpful tool to pull up a zipper.
Fingerless gloves (or several pairs of those cheap “magic” gloves that come out every winter now with their fingers strategically cut off at the places I want them cut off) are great for days when the air conditioning makes my hands ache. They are also good to keep the Tiger Balm from getting all over everything and staining my shirt.
Wrapping it up
I guess the biggest ‘get through your day’ tips though that I have are… be gentle with yourself. It is your body. It is your life. You need to live it. You know your limitations. Some days they suck. Okay, okay, limitations suck on a good day. But they are what they are and the best thing we can do is live within them. That… and your biggest ‘tool’ to help you get through your day is your willingness to ask for help when you need it. I know a lot of us would rather shut our hands repeatedly in the car door than to ask for help. Independence seems to matter way more after we find ourselves needing help than it ever did before, but there are times when we just need to suck it up, swallow our pride, and admit that we need help. We need other people. We need… whatever it is when need.
And sometimes, the biggest thing we need is an understanding ear, a virtual pain free hug, and a smile to brighten our day!!!
Want more ideas on dealing with day to day life of having RA, visit the WAAD website to connect with others just like us here–
you can sign up to attend the WAAD Virtual Convention at this registration link–