Friday, August 7, 2009

Man, You Look Rough Today

I work 12 hour shifts standing and walking on a concrete floor or walking up and down stairs, the printing press I work on is 3 stories tall. Quiet often when I get off work at 7 am, after winding down for about an hour or so, I lay down dog tired expecting to get a good 8 hours of sleep. I have no problem falling asleep, but I will wake up several times through the day and usually two days out of the week, cannot go back to sleep. So usually one day a week, sometimes two, I head back to work at 7 pm with only 4-5 hours of sleep. As all of you with RA know, you hurt when you don't get 7-8 hours of good sleep, and I am no exception.

I get so tired of answering the same questions over and over again. It usually goes something like this:

Casual Work Acquaintance: Man, you look rough.
Me: Yeah, I didn't sleep very well today.
Casual Work Acquaintance: I didn't either, I just slept 5 hours today.
Me: That's about what I got today.
Casual Work Acquaintance: You don't look like you feel good though.
Me: I don't. I am hurting due to lack of sleep today.
Casual Work Acquaintance: 5 hours is pretty good sleep for me.
Me: Not for me with my RA trying to work 12 hours.
Casual Work Acquaintance: Oh yeah, I forgot. I think my xxxxxxxx (place assorted relative here) has that. He/she hurts a lot when it rains.
Me: Yeah, it can be pretty rough some days. (I don't even bother trying to tell them that is not what we have - it's not important enough for them to remember.)
Casual Work Acquaintance: Well, hope you get to feeling better.
Me: (smiling) Well, thanks but I probably won't. (Since when has walking 12 hours on concrete with steel toe workboots and climbing up and down stairs all night helped an RA patient after having only 4-5 hours of sleep.)

Now, I head out to the pressroom to do my job and wait for the same conversation, often asked by the same people, next week.


Cathy said...

That's funny! A few weeks ago I was at our homeschool group and a layed off dad was visiting. When he saw me limping he asked what was wrong. I told him I have RA. He told me if I would just workout more often it would get better. I took a deep breath and held back the rolling of the eyes and asked if he knew RA was an autoimuune disease? He didn't. Oh, if only a little exercise would do the trick, right?

tharr said...

That is hilarious!! I wish working out would cure me. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes of weights yesterday, but I'm not cured yet. Maybe if I double that time today. LOL

People are dumb about our disease plain and simple! I don't look sick but I am and most people don't get it. I also have a limp and my fingers are hooking, but other than that I look normal.

I tend not to waste my time trying to explain to most people, but the crew (4 people to run the press I work on) that I work with know, understand and respect me for working as though nothing was wrong. They also can tell when I am having a bad day without me saying anything, and if there is any crawling around on the floor push me back and tell me they have got it. I do my job day in and day out, ask for no special privileges, but it makes a huge difference to work with a good crew that is willing to help you when your pain is elevated.

Take care of yourself

Kelly said...

Cathy and Tharr,
What they don't get is that you are already leaving it all on the field to do what you are doing.
What do we need? A cable channel to explain what RA is? hahahaha.

tharr said...

That may be, but it's the only way I know to do something, all or nothing. I am trying to learn to back off a bit, but it's not been a great success yet.

On the cable channel, we could call it Everybody Loves RA Man. Ok, I know it was corny, but it was there, I had to go for it.

Take care of yourself