Self Management
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A sometime treacherous trip made easier


Rheumatoid Arthritis brings  new meaning to the expression ‘adapt or perish’.

Life will never be the same once diagnosed with RA. Life can be very good. It can be great. In RA a good life needs help. It needs adaptation.

I do remember the days when I would park at the farthest space in a parking lot just to get just a little more walking into my day. When RA hit me like a lightning bolt and started its invasion of my body, I no longer had that luxury.

My feet were seriously inflamed, all those little joints* in my feet plus the bigger joints in my ankles. Ouch!  I hobbled to my destinations determined to get my errands done.

In the early days, I cried when I reached so many of those destinations. The effort was so overwhelming. Feet are as commonly affected in RA as are hands.  Walking can be mighty hard.

I fend for myself. I have to figure it all out and then do it. I plan the duration of my errands to avoid exhausting fatigue.  I found my trips to Sam’s pharmacy (my favorite, as they know me well and are an important part of my healthcare team) hard to do. It is very hard to shop at all the big stores as there is so much walking involved.

My solution was to get a handicap authorization for my car. I downloaded the form from my DMV website.  My primary signed off on it. My rheumatologist would have done the same. I brought it to the DMV.

Shortly, I received my authorization. It would be good for 4 years. Well, the little guilt trip I experienced passed quickly when I realized my RA made me a good candidate to have one. Now I wantonly park in all the handicap spots that are available where I shop.

The joints in my feet are starting to deteriorate. I now have the supports recommended by my podiatrist. I have a great brace for my left ankle. I have my handicap card.

This handicap card had helped to keep me mobile. It gives me the chance to keep my independence. I am closer to the store. It relieves the stress of parking. And in the recesses of my mind I think RA perk and I smile.

Get yours next week. It is a great RA tool and it is a great CA tool.


*The foot has 28 bones (2 are the sesamoids located under the big toe joint). These bones are joined by 37 joints. These joints are synovial and can all be inflamed by rheumatoid arthritis. The joints are held together by 107 crisscrossing ligaments. 32 muscles and tendons give the foot its movements and strength. Complex for sure.

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