My Rheumatoid Arthritis: Dealing with Joint Pain, Stress, and Tornadoes

Hollybgroovin Health Guide
  • It’s still amazes me how Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect so many different aspects of my life.  Here I am, many years after my diagnosis, still learning so much about life with this disease.  Here I am, still trying to live well with RA.


    Tornado Alley, Oklahoma

    I live in northeastern Oklahoma, right in the middle of Tornado Alley and have lived here my whole life.  In fact, I often joke that you can always tell a true Oklahoman by the way we stand outside and watch the clouds in the midst of a severe thunderstorm.  I grew up watching tornados with my grandpa.  We would sit out on his balcony and watch the clouds.  I lived through many tornados and 28 years of tornado seasons.  At 2:30 a.m. I find myself sitting on the same balcony (I bought my grandpa’s house when he passed).  I watch the clouds in the moonlight and watch the stillness of the trees in the midst of all this rain.  I wonder what the weather will bring.

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    As I sit in the cold morning air I can feel my joints stiffen.  I originally woke up from intense throbbing and pain, unable to use my own fingers to open my bottle of pain pills. I took a hot bath but it only brought short-term relief.  So here I am in pain and watching the clouds.


    The stress that tornado season brings always causes me to flare.  This year is worse than all the others as my husband works out of state to pay for my medications.  So I worry if I would be able to wake my kids if a tornado were to pop up.  I worry if I would be able to make it down the two flights of stairs of my tri-level home.  Tornado season just makes me worry.


    Being prepared

    This year I am prepared, and although I will still worry, I had to have a plan.  I have a fog horn by the side of my bed.  Yes it may wake up my neighbors too, but I really need to make sure I can wake up my kids.  In my downstairs hall closet we have pillows, blankets, flashlights, and water.  My oldest son knows exactly what to do in the event that I can’t move fast enough.  But I have a plan… I have to.


    Much like tornado season, it is good to have a plan for flares too.  Do you have someone to call for help?  Do you know your rheumatologist and your primary physician’s phone numbers?  Do you have a way to get to your medications if your fingers aren’t working?  What about heating pads by the bed, or snacks accessible for your kids?


    Don’t let RA get the best of you!

    Being prepared for a flare will not make the flare go away.  Let me repeat…IT WILL NOT MAKE YOUR FLARE GO AWAY!  But, it will make living with a flare much easier.  Living with a flare is not easy, but being prepared may help make it tolerable.  You see I have found that life with RA is a lot like tornado season.  When the skies are blue everything is beautiful.  But without warning something ugly might pop up with the strength to knock you down.  Have a plan, and never let RA get the best of you!

Published On: May 15, 2008