Friday, March 30, 2007

Bits and Pieces: News

Ashley Treatment
To anyone who thought that the slippery slope argument in regard to the Ashley Treatment was baloney:
Two families are seeking the same treatment for their children (via The Gimp Parade).

Asthma Inhalers May Cost More
Beginning in 2008, all sales of CFC-filled albuterol asthma inhalers are banned. A generic version of the new formulations that use an environmentally friendly propellants may not be available immediately, making inhalers more expensive.

Another Attack of a Homeless Person in Florida
Two 10-year old boys and a 17-year old attacked a homeless man in Florida. The boys threw rocks at the man. The 17-year old punched him, knocking him to the ground. Then, one of the boys used parts of a concrete wall to hit the homeless man in the head.

TJ Maxx Credit Data Theft Incident
The TJ Maxx data theft incident is turning out to be the biggest ever with "at least 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers being stolen over a period of several years".

U.S. is demonstrating the largest show of force in the Persian Gulf since 2003.

The Undersecretary of State claims "We are not there to provoke any military conflict".

Secretary of Defense says U.S.
is not planning for a war with Iran.

The New Yorker reports on Pentagon plans for a possible attack on Iran:

Still, the Pentagon is continuing intensive planning for a possible bombing attack on Iran, a process that began last year, at the direction of the President. In recent months, the former intelligence official told me, a special planning group has been established in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged with creating a contingency bombing plan for Iran that can be implemented, upon orders from the President, within twenty-four hours.

Keroack resigns

Eric Keroack, an abstinence only advocate who was put in charge of the federal office that oversees reproductive rights funding, has resigned (via Feministing).

A quick search pulled up an article in the Boston Globe, and it looks like his resignation is the result of action being taken against his private practice by Medicaid.

The head of the federal office responsible for providing women with access to contraceptives and counseling to prevent pregnancy resigned unexpectedly yesterday after Medicaid officials took action against him in Massachusetts.

The Health and Human Services Department provided no details about the nature of the Massachusetts action that led to Dr. Eric Keroack's resignation.

This is good news. But I will reserve any celebration until a replacement is named. It's still possible that the Bush administration could find someone who is on par with Keroack or worse.

Keroack's deputy, Evelyn Kappeler, has been selected as an interim replacement. A Google search yields little information about Kappeler except that she is the deputy. One can only hope that the Bush administration doesn't pick someone worse to ultimately replace Keroack.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Remicade update

I haven't gone for my 4th Remicade infusion yet, but my psoriasis is clearing up quite nicely. I've had two particularly resistant spots on my fingers, and they're starting to fade away. Before long, I hope, people won't be able to notice it--thank God! It's really obnoxious to have to either hide the psoriasis or be prepared to have people comment on it or point it out (and then have to explain what psoriasis is and that it's not contagious. Check out the Psoriasis Foundation's FAQs on psoriasis for more information about psoriasis.). For several months, I was wearing band aids on two fingers to cover the lesions, but even that had people asking what I did to myself. Sometimes you just can't win.

So, even if the stuff wears off quickly for my joints, my skin is benefiting.

Random News

Panda fails to react to "Panda Porn".
Who knew there was such a thing?

You may have heard about the couple who fell off of a cruise ship last weekend. Both were rescued and appear to be in good condition. But, I find this funny (emphasis mine):

The 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman had only minor injuries after falling into the Gulf of Mexico from a balcony on the Grand Princess ship, said Julie Benson, a spokeswoman for Princess Cruises. They have asked that the circumstances remain private and requested that no personal information be released.

From another news report:
[A Princess Cruises spokeswoman] said that the man, who was wearing no clothes when he was rescued, apparently took off his clothes in the water as a survival tactic.

The circumstances... I'm guessing the couple got a little crazy in their stateroom and fell off the balcony.

And, survival tactic? ummm... If I fell off of a cruise ship (with my clothes on), I don't think that taking of my clothes to stay aflot would be the first thing to come to mind.

Crossing fingers, toes and everything else I can

Short term stint with local university didn't happen. The out of town offer that I expect this week or next week had better be good. Otherwise, I'm not going to be happy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

TIA won't die

Total Information Awareness (TIA) was a Pentagon project that Congress pulled the plug on about 4 years ago. Bruce Schneier's blog points to a Wired article about TIA being reborn in Singapore.

For those who don't remember TIA, it was basically the database to rule them all. Every piece of data about every person combined with some alogrithms to mine the data for potential threats to the U.S. Trusting computer's to find meaningful relationships among data is a risky prospect. An even scarier thought is having a government organization like the Department of Homeland Security trusting a computer to do intelligence analysis for them and acting on the results.

Last year, reports came out that the National Security Agency took over TIA. And now Singapore has a prototype of the system, now called Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning (RAHS). According to a consultant on the project, "Essentially it's a strategic tool that ties together every one of the agencies in a government into a large network that is constantly scanning the horizon looking for weak signals that point toward the possibility of a significant event that would have important implications for Singapore".

The article is an interesting read. It wouldn't surpise me if TIA makes a comeback in the U.S.


A man escaped from a Texas minimum security prison last weekend.

The kicker: He was being considered for parole.

Why on earth would you break out of prison when you're being considered for parole? That's just stupid. Tack on a couple more years to that sentence, buddy.

Texas - We'll pay you $500 to have your baby...

A little late on this, but I've been trying to figure out how this whole proposal made sense. Obviously someone thought it was a good idea.

The proposed bill would pay women $500 for giving up their baby for adoption instead of having an abortion. The bill states that only abortion clinics would have the forms to apply for this money, and they would be required to inform women of the available money.

Aside from the issues raised at Feministing and Pandagon and Bitch PhD, you have to wonder how many women that were already considering adoption would go to an abortion clinic so they can get the $500. I'd say that's probably going to be rare, but it's still an issue. And anyway, who came up with $500? That definitely wouldn't cover pre-natal care. A far better proposal would be to offer free pre-natal care to any woman who chooses to carry to term if she cannot afford such care herself.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Busy, Anxious and Nervous

After the fiasco with the last job offer I received, I've been looking for other jobs. My current contract ends in 2 weeks. Time is running out. I'm being considered for a short-term teaching stint with a local university. That would be good, but they've delayed making a decision yet again.

In 2 weeks finances will get much more difficult if something doesn't come through. My husband is already stressed about it--among other things. I'm looking for something, I swear. I can't help it if no one is returning my calls or they're taking their time in getting an offer to me! I just wish he wouldn't take out his stress on me; I can only handle so much of the silent treatment.

I've been interviewing back down South. One interview started out by me being told I had the job, but I still haven't received any offer letter or other verbal offering. I really want the job, but I'm nervous that the offer won't be good enough for me to take (salary and relocation expenses are a concern). Then, I'll be stuck here with no job and an upset, frustrated and worried husband. Unfortunately, my skill set is fairly specific, so finding a good fit is very difficult.

Over the weekend we spent a lot of time working on our house and getting it ready should we end up moving. I painted trim, which is rather difficult to do when you're in pain (and now I'm regretting that decision). We cleaned and organized and straightened. The place looks pretty good. Still a lot to do should we put the house on the market, but it looks better than before.

If we do end up moving, I'm worried about getting a new rheumatologist. I really don't want to have to go through the diagnostic stage again. I know I'm not a standard case in any regard. I don't fit the "typical" psoriatic arthritis case, but I don't fit RA or AS either. As long as a new Dr. will continue my current treatments, I think I'll be ok. But, I'm worried that they'll doubt my diagnosis, and thus doubt the treatment and stop it.

I'm just really nervous. I'm a worry wart. This is one of the first times in my life that I've been in a situation like this (lots of unplanned stuff), and I don't know what I'm going to do if things don't just fall into place. I worry that if I don't get something soon, all hell will break loose. I just can't handle that right now.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I feel like I'm Waiting for Godot. Normal day to day struggles continue, and all the while, I'm waiting for this unknown figure. Fatigue, pain and diversion from the mundane nature of life occupy time, but I'm still holding out hope for the arrival of something better.

Sometimes things don't go as planned. You hope for the best. Tomorrow, everything will be better. But life is not fair Pain continues. Stress mounts. Plans fall through. And I am left here, staring at empty hands and feeling the emptiness of losing hope.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Disability Carnival #11

Disability Carnival #11 is up at How to Wheelchair. Lots of good reads.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Catching Up

Last week was one of the worst ones yet pain-wise. Throw in on top of that all of the work-related stress, and it was a crazy week. On the plus side, I was able to get a disabled parking permit (a much easier process than I expected). I've used it a couple of times, and it has really made a difference. I actually went to the mall to pick up some make-up at Nordstrom instead of sending hubby to do it. I am planning on going to the grocery store/Wal-Mart all by myself tomorrow. Having that placard really made me realize just how much I wasn't doing because I didn't want to walk too much or wear myself out.

I had some job interviews out of town, and both went well. I got a few strange looks hobbling up the stairs at the office of one company. Maybe the other job falling through will work out for the best. Looks like I'll be getting at least one job offer in the next few days, maybe two offers. If either of them comes through, it means I can get out of this state and hopefully find a nice one-story house down South. No more stairs! No more long, cold (at least to me) winters.

Now, if only my rheumatologist will call me back. I'm hoping that something can be done for my hip, even if that means surgery. And, if I do need surgery, that I can get it done before I move and have a new job and new house and new stuff going on.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

TSA - a good experience for once

I've been flying quite a bit here lately. My last experience with TSA while using a cane was less than fantastic. As before, flying out of BWI was a hassle, but returning really was a different experience. It was obvious, from my experience there, that the Birmingham TSA has taken efforts to educate their officers on disabilities and take measures to ensure that the experience is as pleasant as possible.

At Birmingham International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, when going to the main terminal (the only one used much, really), I presented my boarding pass and ID to the people checking it. They then escorted me to the security line reserved for pilots, flight attendants and airport employees. When I got there, I put my bags on the x-ray machine and waited until the last minute to put my cane up. To my surprise, the TSA officer told me to "wait just a second, honey." She turned around, and when she came back, she had a plastic cane for me to use. They let me take my time getting through the checkpoint, and were glad to assist me getting my bags off the x-ray machine and putting on my shoes.

TSA in Birmingham gets two thumbs up from me. A plastic cane is an easy addition to the security screening point, and it makes life so much easier for someone like me. I came out of security feeling more relaxed, in less pain, and most of all, respected.

I am writing a letter to TSA headquarters to encourage providing such service at all airports and commending the Birmingham airport TSA for their efforts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Back to the drawing board

Due to issues with the company that I thought was going to be my new employer, I'm not taking the job. Turns out, they'll help, but only partially. I understand that they are under constraints, but they are refusing to answer some simple questions like:

Me: How many disabled parking spaces do you have in the in-building garage and how many are taken now?
Well, I don't know. A couple.
Me: When will a new space come available in the in-building garage? If you don't know specifically, can you give me a ballpark figure?
I don't really know. Maybe a few weeks. We don't really have any disabled people working here--those spaces are used for the pregnant women or people who've injured themselves. I can't imagine it will be more than a few weeks.

I figured that those would be easy questions to answer, or at least find the answers to. Apparently they don't care enough.

The hiring manager called me yesterday afternoon, probably because he's concerned that I might back out of accepting the offer (duh!). I reiterated my concerns about the parking and the position. His responses left much to be desired.

MGR: Parking here isn't cheap. But, there are several garages with spaces available about 5 blocks away.
Yes, but as I explained several times, I can't walk 5 blocks.
MGR: Well, I understand your issues. I've been there myself; I used crutches for a few weeks. But, I still walked.
Yes, but again, there is a difference. This may never get better; it may get worse.
MGR: ...

I'm not happy with the way things look. Even if they do work out the parking, the manager doesn't seem to get it. There's something to be said for educating people, but I don't want my life to be a living hell because my manager doesn't understand and/or won't accommodate my needs.

So, back to looking for a new job.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Not another allergy...

A new PF Chang's restaurant opened in the Baltimore yesterday. One of my work friends took me there for lunch for my birthday (Thanks!).

I really like PF Chang's every once in a while. I don't love the long wait that usually comes with eating there, but I truly enjoy some of their food. Unfortunately, something I ate yesterday caused an allergy episode. I have no idea if it was the lettuce wraps, the entrees we shared or the dessert that caused the reaction. This is not good. I didn't think that I had food allergies, at least, not the type that make my throat swell and give me hives. Luckily, I caught the symptoms early enough that benadryl and a couple of puffs of the albuterol inhaler were enough to get me through it.

So, this makes 2 new allergic reactions in less than a week.

I think my immune system hates me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Terminology, Failure and the Patient

v. failed, fail·ing, fails
v. intr.
  1. To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately: failed to fulfill their promises; failed in their attempt to reach the summit.

  2. To be unsuccessful: an experiment that failed.
  3. To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum.
  4. To prove insufficient in quantity or duration; give out: The water supply failed during the drought.
  5. To decline, as in strength or effectiveness: The light began to fail.
  6. To cease functioning properly: The engine failed.
  7. To give way or be made otherwise useless as a result of excessive strain: The rusted girders failed and caused the bridge to collapse.
  8. To become bankrupt or insolvent: Their business failed during the last recession.

You hear it all too often in the realm of chronic illness and disability. You failed a medication--or a few or several. You failed to recover after physical therapy. You failed whatever treatment the medical establishment decided would work best for you.

As a newbie to the whole disability studies arena, I had never really thought about the implications of medical professionals using the language of failure in describing patients' responses. I didn't realize there was such a thing as a social and a medical model of disability. It never really sunk in just how much the usage of the word "failed" had impacted my persona, my hope and my outlook on the future.

I know that, as time passes, I will only get worse. There will be good times and bad. Not all standard treatments will work for me. I get that. I had pretty good hopes for my future and my ability to at least attempt to do some of the things I used to love like dance or play tennis. My hope and optimism have faded, and I believe much of it has to do with the manner in which doctors medical professionals talk to me.
Well, you've failed Enbrel/Plaqeunil/Azulfidine/standard medical treatments for inflammatory arthritis. You're starting to run out of options.

In reality, those treatments failed me. The important part of that conversation is the person, not the treatment. I have to remind myself that a treatment not working is not my fault. It just wasn't the right treatment option for me at that time. Much like the people first conventions of the social model of disability, the lack of response to a treatment should be phrased so as the fault does not lie with the person. The whole point of treatment is to improve the quality of life of the person; saying they failed defeats the purpose.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A new job... or not

I was very happy to get a job offer recently. It's a great opportunity to work for a well known international company. All sounded great, until I tried to find parking. Unfortunately, the office is in downtown Baltimore in an area with little parking.

When I went to interview there, the closest lot with available parking was not ADA compliant (5 stories high--no elevator and no accessible parking spaces). So, after trudging down 5 flights of stairs and walking 4 blocks to the office for my interview, I was exhausted and in a lot of pain. I didn't really consider this an issue though since the first parking garage said full except for those with monthly passes. Okay, so I just need a monthly pass.

Turns out, there's a 1 year waiting list for that parking garage (ADA compliant garage at that). So, I called HR and asked for their assistance with parking. Of course, I don't have a disabled parking permit right now, so they didn't want to help (I've been talking with my nurse and doctor about it though, and I'm going to get one to improve my quality of life--ie. not avoiding going places because I can't handle the long walk from the parking lot to the building). I assured them that I am in the process of getting the permit, so they acquiesced. They are now saying they cannot help me as the garages are city managed, and their internal parking garage is full.


I already told my current employer that I would not be accepting a full time offer from them (I've been on a contract-to-hire contract for the past 5 months). I was counting on this position. And now, just because I cannot find accessible parking within my mobility limits, I will have to turn it down, and possibly be unemployed for a few months. Great. I'm thrilled.

On top of that, my husband to me to Morton's Steakhouse in Baltimore yesterday for my birthday. I absolutely love a good Grand Marnier souffle, and Morton's is the only place in town with them. Turns out, the outside entrance is not accessible. I had to hike up a flight of stairs to get inside (I didn't take my cane because I wasn't expecting to do much walking or climbing stairs). The accessible entrance was through the hotel entrance, a decent walk around the building. And then, that entrance brought you in to the back of the restaurant so you had to navigate the tables and aisles to get to the hostess stand. What a nightmare.

Since I started using a cane, I pay a lot more attention to the accessibility of places, and I'm really disappointed with Baltimore.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Suicidal family members who refuse treatment are an interesting challenge. When I say suicidal, I mean that this person has picked a date, method, clothes to wear, told family to plan to come take care of their personal effects during a certain time period and other things that do not bode well.

What do you do at this point? I only hope that we can break through and get some help before it's too late.

But, right now, I feel helpless.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's about time.

My rheumatologist is finally doing diagnostic work on my hips. I was using my cane yesterday since, because of the snow and weather change, my hip decided it didn't want to move. Well, that was finally enough for the rheumatologist to examine it and order x-rays (after discovering that my right hip will not abduct more than 20 degrees). His comment: "Well, your range of motion is significantly diminished in the right". Uh yeah doc, that's what I've been trying to tell you for several months now.

He doesn't want to do a cortisone shot in the hip because it is more difficult than other joints. He wants to see the x-rays before he makes a call on what to do next. If the x-ray shows nothing, then it's MRI time. Fun stuff.

J, the infusion nurse, told me that I need to consider getting a disabled parking placard after discovering I haven't really gone anywhere in the past month because of pain. I'm thinking I will apply for one. I don't think I would use it all the time, but it would help me do things like grocery shopping. I only go grocery shopping on the way home from work, and then only if I can find a parking space close to the door.

Remicade #3

I had my third Remicade infusion yesterday. This time, the experience was not so good.

First off, it took 2 tries to get the IV in. Try #1 involved 15 minutes of digging around trying to find the vein (though, J, the infusion nurse, is the best wielder of a needle I've ever met, and even her digging around didn't hurt all that badly). I've had worse experiences, but I'm still not a fan.

I had an allergic reaction--not severe, but enough to warrant stopping the infusion of Remicade for a while and starting a benadryl IV drip. Turns out I get two of the less common reactions to the drug: headache and itchy skin/hives. Luckily, I reported the itchiness/tingling to the nurse soon enough that a major hives outbreak didn't happen.

Things I've learned from the experience:

  • Always tell the infusion nurse anything that feels different or weird.

  • Benadryl drips make me giggly. I'm sure the other people in the infusion room were getting annoyed with me after a while. I thought everything was funny.

  • Benadryl drips make me really sleepy and barely able to walk. Hubby had to come get me and take me home. I'll have to go back this afternoon and pick up my car.

  • Sleeping in strange positions during infusions is not good for the body. My neck still hurts from the strange way I was sleeping after the benadryl knocked me out.

So, from now on, I will have to pre-medicate with benadryl and tylenol before my infusions. Tylenol for the headache and benadryl for the itchiness. Bonus: oral benadryl doesn't really make me giggly, just sleepy. So, it's probably better for all the people I'll be sharing infusion room space with.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Letter to Fox

Dear Writers for House,

Why is it that almost every episode of House I have seen recently deals with autoimmune diseases? And then, why is it that said autoimmune disease is either fatal or easily cured with steroids? I love House, primarily for the tragic flaws of one Gregory House, M.D. He's such an ass, but I like him anyway. I do still love a good medical mystery, but I prefer books and authors like Robin Cook for that. Where is the mystery in the medical mystery show when the possibilities for diagnosis include autoimmune disease.

While I realize that autoimmune diseases fall under the "mystery" category when it comes to medicine, can you please throw in something a little different every now and then. Or, perhaps you could portray the middle ground between "you're going to die" and "you'll be fine after some prednisone" with autoimmune diseases. When I, a computer scientist, know more about the diseases you present on your television program, that indicates to me that you did not do your research! Seriously, throw in a rare genetic disorder every now and then. Don't just fall back on autoimmune disease every time you run out of materials.


Disgruntled Ladye

Now, where were the doctors like House when I was taking years to get diagnosed with an autoimmune disease? Autoimmune is one of the last areas (or was at the time) they check when it comes to diagnosis of a myriad of health complaints. Maybe TV will make autoimmune diseases a little more prevalent in the medical world? I won't hold my breath.


I keep trying to write this paper for work, but it just isn't happening. Though, ridiculous demands from unrealistic supervisors don't help.

Google is my friend for researching the topic, but it's also my downfall--helping me procrastinate.

It's due tomorrow morning. I'm so screwed.


To cope is to be able to carry on through the pain. I am not good at this. I don't really know if any of us are truly good at it.

Most days, I can get by. But, I'm tired of just getting by. I miss the ability to stay awake for a 16 hour stretch without needing a nap or insane amounts of caffeine. I miss being able to walk my dogs or go to the gym or climb the stairs.

The pain of daily life combined with the pain of loss is difficult. Being diagnosed with and accepting a lifelong deteriorating illness is much like losing a loved one. You grieve: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Sometimes, the cycle restarts itself after a setback or after hope raises its head only to be smacked down by reality shortly thereafter.

Again, I am caught in depression. I thought that I was existing pretty well on my own, but having the house to myself the past few days has really opened my eyes. I depend on others to take care of so many simple daily tasks, and now I realize that while I can do them myself, I end up in worse condition--exhausted, weak and in pain. I found myself having to ask for more assistance at work. I even needed to take an hour long break before I could walk to my car and drive myself home. I just sat there and pondered the situation. The longer I think about it, the more depressed I become. At the same time, I don't know how to break the cycle of depression. I know that it's not feasible to break the cycle of the disease. Remission in PA is rare, and even once the remission occurs, the existing damage to my joints will still cause a significant amount of pain. I try to hope for it, but that hope seems to be setting myself up for failure.

So, I compromise. I hope that things are no better and no worse than they are today. If tomorrow is better, hooray. If tomorrow is worse, it's much more bearable than the letdown of not getting better.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Drama, anxiety and health

*Warning* This is a whiny post. I just need to vent about the events of the past several days.

My health is definitely linked to my emotional state. I've been really anxious and nervous lately. A lot of things are going on related to my work (currently on a contract-to-hire, but another better offer came along. Long story short, the current employer told me it would be somewhere around 5 years before I get a promotion after I'm brought on full time. They made my decision to leave very easy!), and I've been so ridiculously stressed out. At least now I have an idea of what to expect and what's going on. Looks like I'll be starting the new job on April 2.

Unfortunately, when I'm stressed, I get physically ill. My mental health is directly related to my physical health. My back and neck are really tight, and my joints don't want to move. My appetite is all over the place--ravenous at times and non-existent at others.

So, now that the job situation is winding down somewhat (I still have to make sure that my current contract is not terminated before I'm ready to start the new position), I hope that the physical symptoms of my stress recede. Being able to walk more easily would be nice.

Anyway, I have my 3rd Remicade treatment tomorrow afternoon. I really hope the third time is the charm!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


How I would love to be weightless. When I was younger, we lived very close to one of NASA's facilities. My family and I would go there and see all the space travel related things. I always got the feeling that it was something I wanted to do. I wanted to see the great unknown beyond our world.

I remember being about 8 years old and being fascinated with space, the stars, the universe. I also remember that it was one of the few constants in my life, and in hindsight, that is probably why I always had my head pointed to the heavens.

We moved a lot when I was a kid. Think military moving. Then double the frequency. That was my childhood. New home, new school, new friends every 6, 9 or 12 months. The only constant things in my life were the stars I saw (my mother had taught me all the major constellations by the time I was 5 or so) and my parents. The only comfort I had in a new home in a faraway place was that I could look out my window and find Orion's Belt, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper and other constellations.

I remember watching Challenger go up in flames when I was in elementary school (Kindergarten, I think--after that, I never saw another shuttle launch during school). It was such a tragedy, but I was fascinated by something so big that several people died and yet others would still want to do it. Sally Ride was my hero. When I started having health problems, I gave up on the dream of going to space. I thought about doing computer stuff for NASA but decided against it as my interests in computer science diverged from things that would be useful at NASA. Well, Stephen Hawking is giving hope for people with physical limitations and disabilities.

Hawking is now scheduled to go for a weightless airplane flight in April.

Go Stephen Go!


Living in Maryland has come to mean being prepared for some crazy weather. From warmish to cold in just a day. While I relish the unseasonably warm days, that snap back to the cold is tough. For those of us with joint problems, the rapid changes are even more difficult to handle. I've been working on ways to handle my limitations. This topic has come up frequently on the Arthritis Foundation bulletin boards so I thought I'd share a few of my adaptations.

  • Cane - I tried to make it to my 25th birthday without buying one out of spite, but the pain won out in the long run. It beats the butt-scoot any day.

  • Gloves - keep hands warm (Raynaud's phenomenon is common with arthritis), some can provide extra support (therapeutic gloves). I even have a pair of fingerless gloves to use at work (especially in cold server rooms)

  • Hand warmers - not just for camping!

  • Flexi Leash Comfort - has a cushioned grip, and the medium size is big enough to fit most of my hand through, meaning I don't have to grip with my fingers. Walking the dog is much easier now.

  • Using palms instead of fingers - Driving a stick shift becomes problematic when you can't grip the shifter. Learning to use the palm of my hand to change gears has saved me a lot of pain. Eventually I'll be getting a car with an automatic transmission.

  • Comfy shoes - giving up high fashion for the more practical shoe. Walking a few blocks to work in high heels just isn't worth it. I still wear low heeled or dressy flat shoes with some of my suits, but I never walk far in them. For that I have shoes like these Merrell Mary Janes.

  • Salad Shooter - Hubby got me a salad shooter for Valentine's Day this year (romantic, I know). I'd been wanting one for awhile so that I can cut vegetables and such when my hands won't cooperate. So far, it rocks. It also makes great slice potatoes for home-made potato chips.

  • Rolling pin with upright handles - Another Valentine's Day gift from Hubby this year. I love to bake. I esepcially love to bake pies. To make pie crust, you have to roll out the dough. I kept having problems gripping the rolling pin and putting enough force onto it to flatten the dough. The new rolling pin makes it easier for me to do both.

  • Cordless can opener - I'm not sure what brand I have, but if you have limited hand strength or flexibility, an electric can opener is a must. The cordless variety makes it even easier (unless you forget to recharge it).

I was not paid to review these items; they're just things that I've found help me out in my daily life. I wanted to share since a lot of people I've met with arthritis don't necessarily know what's out there to make their lives easier. Rheumatologists don't seem to discuss daily living assistance and leave you on your own to find out what works for you.