Today was one of the worst days I’ve had in my five year battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I woke up hurting but taped myself together and took three tabs of ibuprofen as I dropped my son off at school.
As soon as I got on the road to start my 50 minute commute, my elbows (freshly taped this morning) were so painful and felt so weak that I had to switch back and forth between each arm to hold the steering wheel. My hands started swelling and my knuckles wouldn’t crack, no matter how hard I tried. I grabbed my heavy compression gloves and put them on at a red light.
My knee decided to join the party a few minutes later. Since I was driving, there wasn’t much I could do except massage it (and punch it) with the tennis balls I keep in my center console.
By the time I arrived to work, my eyes were red from crying and I was exhausted.
I managed to get to 2:00pm before things seemed to spin out of control. The pain was relentless- I couldn’t even type without my fingers feeling like they were being pulled off my hand. The fatigue was so intense that I felt myself dozing at my desk. I mentally made a plan that if I couldn’t drive home, I would nap in my office or in my car on the side of the road, until I felt I could drive safely. I literally planned out what I wound do- this wasn’t my imagination running wild.
I tried stretching my legs, bending every which way I could. I cut up SalonPas into little strips for my fingers and covered them with my compression gloves. I took Tylenol- why, I have no idea. I pulled my hair in and out of a ponytail because the pain was so intense, I didn’t know what to do with my hands.
I typed multiple texts to my husband. I wanted to tell him this was it. I couldn’t work anymore. I needed help, I needed the ER. I wanted to give up. To tell him that my disease had won this last battle and I didn’t want to fight it anymore.
I deleted all of those texts before I sent them. Why? I remembered something I promised myself the last time I felt this awful. Don’t make decisions for tomorrow based on today.
Fast forward to now, 7 hours later. I have some residual pain but nothing I can’t manage. I have an appointment for physical therapy tomorrow and a full day of working from home. I am so glad I focused on my pain and only that moment and didn’t let my disease dictate my tomorrow.