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warmer days and lazing in the garden

I'm waiting in for delivery of my new swing seat today for the garden. I know we've still got frost but I'm just itching to get out there with a good book and enjoy the sun when it arrives. I've got flower and vegetable seeds sprouting in the greenhouse and planted up some patio tubs at the weekend which look really pretty...well I directed and hubby did the planting. He now refers to my gardening gloves as my supervisory gloves lol as my fingers don't do much gardening at the moment. Just got to think of healthy things to cook on the BBQ so we don't regain all the weight were trying so hard to lose. I'm thinking chicken kebabs..yummy! I've always worked up until my hands got painful. This time last year I was an advisor in the jobcentre, a thankless task which I don't miss for a minute. I'm sure the stress and confrontation are what led to me getting ill. I was on a fixed term contract which finished in May due to government cuts along with all the others on the same sort of contracts. The problem now is that I seriously can't think of a job I can do with such limited mobility in my hands and wrists. I feel guilty for not working but I can only type briefly now and I have to stop because of the pain. I think when you're already in a job employers have to make some attempt to keep you but who on earth is going to take on an administrator who can't hold a pen and has limited typing ability. I'd be interested to know what sort of jobs any of you with hand problems do. Also has anyone changed careers due to hand problems and if so to what?

Paula x

12 Replies

Paula I have, as you know, had most of my RA problems in my hands and wrists. Now I'm on 15mgs of MTX per week and the hand problems are mainly stiffness and my right wrist aches when I move or twist it. My knuckles have gone down and I can do most things again with my hands. If your new rheumy doesn't dillydally too much and gets you onto a DMARD soonish then I think you might be as lucky as me and find your hand pain lessens a great deal.

I'm an artist and my hands are pretty vital to me - not just for income (don't make a lot!) but to keep me sane as I use them to work out ideas and am currently completing a big commission which will go in a very public location in central London so very glad the MTX is doing it's stuff. Plus once you get a proper diagnosis you might well be able to access physio and occupational therapist who should in turn be able to help you with customised splints and exercises. Meanwhile, given you disliked you last job so much, perhaps you should use this as a time to take stock of what you really long to do while you wait for diagnosis and medication to start? Meanwhile here are some hand exercises my physio gave me to do while you keep the weightloss going. Also try getting a stress ball or arthritis putty - or even a large pair of socks rolled up into a ball and squeezing them a lot - as much as you can manage. - hope this helps? Good luck. TTx


I'm sure I wrote a reply to you Tilda but it appears to be missing. Thanks for all your advice, I'll make more effort with the stress ball and check out that site you've mentioned. Its good that you have been able to continue with your art. Do you have any links to pictures of your work? I love art but am a poor amateur who occasionally tries watercolour painting. I've not had my paints out in a few years but you inspire me to have another go as it's so relaxing. I'm not sure that I could grip a brush right now though. This commission you've got for London sounds very exciting, I'd love to see it. Well done x


Thanks Paula - yes try the stressball out it really does make a difference - as with all exercise where possible re RA (if that's what you've got) and it will help any form of arthritis as well I'm sure.

Re the art - it's my job so it's not so much relaxing as keeps me sane so essential. And I don't paint much these days - mainly I embroider - which is actually harder for my hands in some ways especially because I carry it around with me like knitting whereas painting is too messy and not as portable. I'll give you a link to our work by PM - don't like to get my boundaries too crossed! TTx


Have you thought about becoming an advisor for people who are disabled seeing as you worked in the job centre. I know job centres are a thankless place to go to as i have ecperienced. I am unable to work,but with your training you would be good at it. How about getting a voice activated computer,at a stroke you wouldn't have to use your hands.

Love sylvi.xx


I've heard of these voice activated programmes but never seen one in action. That's somthing I'll have to look at more closely Sylvi. As for advising the disabled it's something worth consideration. It would probably be much better working for a private organisation. x


Hi Paula,

I was only thinking earlier this morning (because of various things I've read on here today) that someone should start a blog suggesting the type of things that us RA (and etc.) sufferers could do.

So here's my suggestions:

Charities - shops or fundraisers (some charities pay fundraisers expenses and are often on a now and again basis). (Not necessarily the collecting box type of job but they often need people just to answer the phones in their offices or filling envelopes)

Proof readers - books etc.. or exam paper markers (dont know what they are called or how you find a job like that, but they do exist)

People who have a good use of their hands (lucky them) but have other physical problems could try something like volunteering to the Ancestry site or a similar site - unpaid but it may help to keep them sane.

Ok, that's all I can think of for now regarding work. Hope someone else can come up with some suggestions.

Can't wait for the sun to arrive either, as we were having our garden re-arranged last summer my husband included a small summer house for me , bless him. Even though it has no electricity yet I have sat up there several times burning candles for warmth and reading a book. (He had an ulterior motive - I retired 2 years ago and it gets me out of his hair !!!!)

Oh well, must get on.

Spring is such a lovely time isn't it.


Thanks Judi, I've really got to start hitting the job adverts and see what's out there. I'll never know if anyone will hire me if I don't try. Your summer house sounds fab, I'm very jealous. x


Hi Paulywoo

There are a couple of organisations that we are aware of that may be of interest to you.

The first is a charity called the Shaw Trust. They are a national charity that can provide training, help and work opportunities to people who are disadvantaged in the job market due to ill health and disability:

Secondly, AbilityNet, is a charity that helps disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology, if this is an area that you are struggling with in particular.

Kind regards

Sarah Kate

NRAS Helpline


Thanks for the advice sarahkate I'll check those out tomorrow. I suppose it's time to take control and work with what I've got. x


Don't know if you have seen this NRAS publication but it has lots of information about the help and support that is available to help you stay in a job or get a new job. There is also a version for employers explaining what RA is, how disability discrimination act applies to them and where they can get help with supplying suitable aids.

Hope these booklets help.



And to you Becky, thankyou. So many ideas and websites to look at for inspiration. This group is a godsend. x


Please excuse my mini answers all. It's hard work to type right now but I just wanted you to know I'm reading your replies and am very grateful x x


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