RA is like taking a rollercoaster ride – and never getting off! RA is certainly an up/down experience with lots of highs and lows. My comparison works except for one thing: our days don’t fly by in a buzz of adrenalin. We are on a low serotonin, endless ride. That is what makes us difficult people to live with.
I am blessed to have a husband who is very calm and consistent in nature. It helps enormously to balance out my erratic life. I find it very difficult to make plans as I don’t know how I will be feeling from one day to the next. We quickly learn to assess each day as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ day. The one thing I am grateful for is at the end of each day when Jan walks through the door a wave of assurance washes over me and I know that everything is going to be okay. When life is hard it is wonderful to have someone who is willing to take the rollercoaster ride with you – someone who is not only willing to HOLD your hand but who can GIVE you a much-needed helping hand. Jan is God’s provision for me and I thank God for him daily. In marriage you become one flesh and so it is understandable that when one suffers the other person suffers as well. This blog is dedicated to all those who support a loved one with RA. Maybe you will be able to relate to the following true story:
During one of my post-surgery recovery periods Jan would go early every Saturday morning to our local Farmers Market to get our weekly fresh produce. On this particular week as Jan jostled with the crowds of people and made his purchases he was constantly bumping into friends and their first question to him was, “How is Libby?” Consequently he took much longer than normal and an exasperated husband returned home to me. Normally Jan loves to show me all his purchases but this time he walked in and blurted out, “Everyone wants to know how you are – and nobody ever asks how I am?!!!” I felt like crying. How true. RA sufferers get all the attention from family and friends and they rarely ask those closest to the patient how they are doing. Fortunately, Jan has a good sense of humour and he remarked that he had decided to write a weekly report on me, make photostat copies and hand them out each Saturday morning. Not only would it make his life easier but it would speed up the shopping process. We turned it into a joke but I learnt a lesson that day.
The message is this: Show love and concern for all parties involved as RA has a ripple effect on others. Life can be tough for them too. It is especially helpful when doctors include loved ones during consultations and show sensitivity to how RA is affecting them.
On another occasion we took a trip to a local farming district to visit Angus Buchan, a farmer turned evangelist. I was struggling physically, mentally and spiritually at the time. It was a wonderful experience and one we will never forget. The highlight of our brief afternoon visit was the fact that Angus spoke to us as a COUPLE. We were going through this difficult time together and it meant the world to us that He counselled and prayed for BOTH OF US. Today would be a good day to say a special ‘thank you’ to our loved ones and to show our appreciation for the gift they are to us. Make a call, buy them a gift, give them a kiss, write a letter or email, send an sms, squeeze them as tightly as you can! – do something to make their day. They deserve it.
‘Til next time…