Learning to live with rheumatoid arthritis is an ongoing journey that I did not sign up for. But lets face it, no one signs up for any disease and quite frankly there are people with a lot worse problems than I have. So I try to keep to myself about when I hurt, or when I am just so tired I can hardly put one foot in front of the other or even something as simple as when I put on my socks and shoes every day.
Even I had a bit of a scare this week though. Two of my medicines for RA, Methotrexate and Enbrel, have sensitivity to sun as one of a long list of side effects. I have been taking these 2 medicines for 4 years and have had no problems working in the yard before... that is all about to change. I got off of work thursday morning and after going to eat breakfast with my daughter, went up to my father-in-laws to mow his yard for him. His yard is 3 acres so it takes a while even on a 48" cut riding mower. It was hot so I follow my normal routine of taking a break about every 40 minutes to cool down completely before going back to resume mowing. It took me a considerably longer amount of time cooling down and consuming 100 ounces of water, but at least I am doing it safely.
I get up Friday and go out to mow my yard, also 3 acres, at a little after 2 pm. I follow the same routine as the day before and I finish my yard at 6:45 pm. I go in and take a shower and rest while my wife is preparing dinner. At around 10 pm I am getting extremely chilled and I cover on the couch. As I sitting on the couch convincing myself that I cannot be coming down with the flu in June, my muscles start drawing up tighter, then I realize ... I have heat exhaustion. I continue to drink a lot of water the rest of the night before going to bed.
I get up saturday to find I am in no better shape so after my wife convinces me that I cannot go to work in this condition, I call in. I hate to call in sick, this is the first day I have called in this year. Through all of 2007 I called in one day also. Back to my story, I go back to bed and after getting up the second time saturday... I still fell like crap! I lay around resting and consuming 90 ounces of water saturday before retiring to bed. I get up and go to work sunday and feel a little better only to find a new problem... blood in my urine. After I get off of work sunday (I work nights) I go to my gp doctor and he immediately sends me to the emergency room after conferring with the doctor on call at er that day. They both believe my kidneys are shutting down. After several blood tests, urine tests, an ekg and iv fluids, the er doctor allows me to go home with some stern instructions.
So for this week, at least, I have been living like a king. Plenty of rest, I cannot go back to work for 4 days, no sun so my daughter is mowing for me this week. Well, this part of it is ok after all. I needed a vacation from work, I just didn't plan on taking part of my vacation to stay inside my house all week.
Another lesson lived, learned and stored for future reference with my RA.