After living with RA for nealy 3 years now I thought I had the hang of things. Well no not really it seems.
At Christmas my joints decided to go into overdrive on Christmas Day of all days. It was on this most important day when our daughter and her husband had driven in the most atrocious weather from England to France to spend time with us that I suddenly realised something awful.
When I start to go into flare mode my whole personality changes. I am angry, frustrated, intolerant, chitical (well perhaps I am a teensy bit like that!) but I take everything out on the one person who matters -my husband who is my carer.
The poor man cannot do a thing right. If he does the washing, ironing, clearning, cooking, shopping there is always something he has not done right according to me.
After a couple of days the mood lifts and I start to feel better but it is an horrendous feeling while it lasts. I am almost suicidal at times and more than once have considered ending it all and feeling the family would be better off without me.
My husband has come up with some ideas on how to handle me when I am in the early throes of flare mode. Mainly he thinks it best to keep as far away as possible! He just tries to ignore what I say and just do his own thing. 'What would you like for lunch?' he asks. 'Anything,' is my usual reply at those times. He will prepare something special to try and cheer me up, I of course will find a reason for it not being what I wanted but he will just smile and say well do your best with it!
At some point I will cry, for myself, for the situation, for what I have lost, for my family and friends, for everyone suffering with this horrid disease. He will hold me and comfort me and NEVER EVER give up on me. The worst part? He is ill himself with a kidney problem.
My rheumatologist tells me that as RA is an auto immune disease I shouldn't get upset, worried, stressed whatever word you want to use. How are we supposed to do that? Life is full of stress. I have tried meditation, talking therapy, yoga, Tai Chi loads of stuff.
The one thing that works for me is going to a favourite place and just sitting in the peace and quiet. It is possible around here even in the height of the tourist season if you know where to look. My husband and I will pack a picnic and go and find somewhere to relax away from the house, the phone, e-mail everything. Sometimes we pray together, sometimes just sit. He is intuitive and knows that I don't really mean the things I say when at my worst and that after nearly 40 years together if I can't rail at him who can I rail at?