Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Work, Sleep, Work

`Working with RA can at best be trying while other days are just brutal.  I work a full time job that is pretty physical.  I start to get stiff and hurt if I sit for any period longer than 20 minutes.  My co-workers, even though they know I have RA, give me a hard time when I get up and go work around a little bit to finish my breaks.  We all know that if you keep moving you don't hurt as much, but outsiders don't understand this.  My bad days include climbing up and down stairs on the printing press that I work on (3 stories tall), getting down on my knees and crawling around working with the two bottom print decks.  Also, if we have had problems, being on my feet for a full 12 hour shift hurts my feet, ankles, knees and right hip.  When a job is running good, we can usually sit down for about 3-4 minutes every roll.
The flexo press that I work on has a turrent unwind and rewind on it, which means that the press never shuts down unless there is a problem. We run 62 inch rolls of paper that average 13,000 linear feet.  Run speed on the press is 1500 feet per minute so on average, we are changing rolls every 8.6 minutes.  Add in checking print quality, inks with the XRite (computer color analyzation system), velvetol, monitoring and adjusting moisture applied to the paper, coatings, ink ph and viscosity.  Because of the run speed, we have 8 ovens on the press to dry inks and coatings.  To cool the paper after coming out of an oven, there are chill rollers which circulate ice cold water through them to help bring the web temperature back down as the paper exits an oven.  Printing is no longer an art, it's becoming a science.  I didn't mean to get carried away talking about the press. 
If I have had a rough day and am hurting more than normal, I will not sleep well.  This comes in part from hurting in my sleep while, I believe, subconsciously worrying about work tomorrow.  I can not hold up to a 12 hour shift with 5 or 6 hours of sleep now, so on my bad work days I will take 1 acetaminophen pm as soon as I get home from work to help me sleep all night.  I always make sure that I have 8 hours to sleep before taking one but have not experienced any of the grogginess or confusion listed as a possible side effect with the product.  Also, it has not become addictive, on my days off, I have no problem with sleeping.  


Living It, Loving It said...

Yes, it can be brutal and I shouldn’t complain since I type all day on a computer and you actually do labor. :) But I hear you on the stiffness and pain when you sit longer than 20 minutes. When I wrote the post about pretending to be well because we are expected to be, I had my coworkers and family in mind. Somehow, we are supposed to be well because they expect us to be or because they are.

That flex press machine looks like hard labor, my friend and I really don’t know how you do it. (LOL - Again, that means I need to stop complaining about my job.) But thanks for the tour of your job – it is interesting to see what others do with and without RA. The explanation reminds me when of I get carried away talking about legal theories. Could you imagine the conversations we could have over lunch?

Stress and hard work really add up so just rest as much as you can on your days off and dream of retirement. And don’t forget to pick up a lottery ticket; you might be able to retire early. :)

Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest you visit and look into low dose, long term antibiotic therapy.

There is also a book you can read on the subject. "The New Arthritis Breakthrough, Including Dr. Brown's classic, The Road Back by Henry Scammell"

I can't offer much in the way of info, since I am new to it myself, but I sure wish someone would've told me about it years ago.

Take care.

tharr said...

Lana, it's not easy being one of us for a day! I know what you mean when you say pretending to be well.

The press I work on is a bit overwhelming when you first see it. Pretty amazing with all of the capabilities it has. I didn't mean to get so carried away, I wasn't trying to bore anyone with my small world.

It would be nice to win the lottery, but since I don't buy tickets for it, I don't think I have much of a shot at winning it! lol

tharr said...

Anonymous, I was on minocycline for about 5-6 months. I got to hurting so bad, I went back to Enbrel. I know antibiotics work for some people ... I was not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Wow Terry
Better you than me. I work at a college doing fairly non physical work and am so happy that I have a job that I may be able to do for a few more years. Maybe the fact that your job was pretty active has kept you pretty active and kept your body in a little better shape to fight the RA. Boy that is one heck of a lot of paper, nice pics. Hang in there Terry, hope the KTM get's back on track before the snow flies.
Phil from Syracuse

tharr said...

Hey Phil, how you doing this week buddy? I should have stuck it out in college! I meant to put this down but got sidetracked with my thought process, if we run all 12 hours at 1500 fpm without having to shut down, we run 204 miles of paper. Thats a lot of paper indeed!
I have been laying out another cool ride this afternoon, just need a bike.

mary said...

I don't know how you do all of the things you have to do at work. Definitely major heavy labor. The description of the press was great. What is being printed?

I know what you mean about becoming stiff if you sit too long. I work at a desk but try to get up and walk around every 1/2 hour or so to loosen up. My problems start when I have to sit in a long meeting. Tough to get up and start to walk without limping and looking very stiff.

Glad to hear you are plotting another trip. Hope you get tour bike back soon and you have a lovely fall so you can get all your rides in.

RA Journeys said...


I came across your blog through Squirrel's blog. I too have RA and I'm always looking for others that understand and to share our stories.

I applaud you for being able to continue working in such a labor intensive job! It can be very difficult, I know from experience.

I look forward to reading more of your blog and feel free to stop by and read a bit of mine!


tharr said...

Mary, I sometimes get carried away (I guess you noticed that), I have been in the printing industry now for 26 years. I work for GP at a Dixie products facility printing paper plate stock. Pretty unimpressive but someone has to do it. I did work for a plant that did tons of major sporting tickets. Very cool stuff we printed, but it didn't pay very good.
I know what you mean about getting stiff sitting too long. People look at me like I'm weird sometimes trying to stand up and take those first few steps. lol It's a good thing that I don't worry about what people think of me.
Have another, shorter, ride planned now as well ... just need a bike to ride now.

tharr said...

Hello Michelle, glad you came by to visit. It really helps to talk with others going through what we are. I will visit your blog on my days off this week.

I have always been very active and I just don't know any better. Plus, it helps that my RA is not as severe as a lot of people's is. It hurts me somedays to ride, but I am determined to not let RA win.

If you like a little humor (I laugh at myself a lot), you might like this post:
Talk to you later