Having been diagnosed with RA at the age of 13 (which was almost 15 years ago), I get a lot of different reactions from people when they find out that I have an “old person’s disease”. I’ve noticed there are a few specific categories of people.
- “I know someone who has that.” These are the people that know exactly what you’re going through, even though they’ve never personally experienced a flare up in their life but their barista told them a story about how painful it is yesterday while ordering coffee. These people might actually need to be sedated from the pain if they had to experience it.
- “Have you tried (fill in the blank with some crazy home remedy)?” These are the people who drive me crazy. I don’t care if stand on my head eating a banana at 7pm every night worked for your friend’s uncle’s fish. I’m going to stick with the health professionals and my own research. Besides, let’s be honest, how many of us are actually standing on our head’s if we have RA?
- “But you’re so young!” These people might be my favorite. I’m aware of how old I am and I know that you didn’t realize someone so young could have arthritis. No it’s not just for old people, even babies can have it and it’s becoming more and more common (sadly). But guess what? There are hundreds (probably thousands) of things that could be worse.
- “Bless your heart. Does it hurt?” Not. At. All. It mostly feels like butterflies licking your face. Their hearts are in the right place but these people always seem to ask the obvious questions. They make me laugh the most.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind explaining why I walk funny to people because it is a way to inform people that RA isn’t just an “old person’s disease” but sometimes it gets old and I just have to laugh at how blunt complete strangers can be.
See you soon!