Spring Is Here: New Arthritis Challenges, New Solutions
After some false starts, it looks like spring has finally begun.
I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. This past winter, with its bitter weather, has been a learning experience for me. I have spent the past few years in Africa teaching as a volunteer and enjoying the balmy sub–tropical weather. But instead I’ve had to spend the past few months imprisoned in my house by the dreary weather and bitter temperatures, not mention all of the snow and ice.
I hadn’t realized before this what an adverse effect this kind of weather can have on me. Even in good weather my balance and my walking can be somewhat tenuous, even when I’m using my cane. Add the true “joy” of attempting to walk on icy surfaces—well, need I say more? My friends had suggested that I spend the winter finishing the two books I’m writing since I couldn’t go anywhere. That would have been an awesome plan, except I just couldn’t seem to write on those icy, gray days.
As my arthritis progresses — I still don’t know why they call it arthritis, and I’m battling both OA and RA many new challenges are arising. One of my doctors recommended that I start using the whirlpool at our fitness facility; however, she had forgotten that I tend to have high blood pressure and was told to stay out of hot tubs. My physical therapist suggested that I could still enjoy the benefits of this without getting entirely in the tub. She said to sit on the side of the tub and dangle my hands in the hot water while I’m doing the needed exercises for my legs. Gee—I’d never thought of that!
One of my next campaigns is to start contacting the companies that have developed those lovely zip tops on packages of cheese and other foods. I don’t know anyone who can open them the way they’re designed—and certainly not someone with any form of arthritis. I won’t even attempt to open one without scissors or a knife.
One last thought: I’ve been hearing a lot in the news about concerns for people with metal artificial joints. They say more and more problems are being discovered. Of course, since I happen to have nine artificial joints—stainless steel or titanium—I was a touch worried at first.
But then I realized how well I’ve done with them. In fact, when I meet someone new and they find out about my “robot” body, they usually are surprised by how well I can move!
So, for today, I will remember that while I have arthritis, it doesn’t have me. A positive attitude can make all the difference.