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RA-Related Pet Peeves

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Those of us who live with rheumatoid arthritis hear it all!  There are the friends who compare our disease with old-age, osteo-arthritis and think an aspirin or two will cure our ills. And we all know that so-called friend who can’t fathom the kind of fatigue we see on any given day. There is the doctor who tells us not to worry our pretty little heads about “that,” because he knows just what to do. How many times have you been told, “But you don’t look sick?” And then we get to the husbands who refuse to accept our limitations during a flare (And no, Jim, I’m not talking about you!). Those remarks and incidents helped form my list of RA-related pet peeves!

Read My Book for RA Lifestyle Tips for More

In my e-book, “Rheumatoid Arthritis:  A Living Nightmare,” I write about all of the above and more.  The disease itself is enough to deal with, and we certainly don’t want to put up with the issues other people bring to the table. With all of this in mind, here is my current list of RA-related pet peeves, and a few suggestions to address and/or fix them.

People Who Confuse RA Issues with Osteo-Arthritis

You know the ones I mean. Those people who assume they are the experts, even though you have explained the difference between rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. We all know someone like the pal who says, “Oh my Aunt Jodie is just like that! Her knee acts up and she rubs cow manure (or whatever) on it and she’s fine in a few minutes.”

Personally, I don’t want to deal with friends or family like that, because they rarely stop with one piece of advice. But life doesn’t work that way, and we have to find a way to get through to some of them, at least. You might try carrying a few cards with you with a couple of websites listed that explain the difference between RA and osteo-arthritis to hand out to those who matter. Tell them that an RA flare compares to having a bad case of flu 24-hours-a-day for as long as said flare lasts. If you get too involved with your explanations, they won’t listen anyway.

Doctors Who Don’t Respect You

Since I was diagnosed at age 34, I have seen many rheumatologists – some good and some not so good. One of my all-time dislikes and RA-related pet peeves is the doctor who refuses to listen to me and doesn’t treat me with respect. Certainly, physicians get busy, and they may even dislike some of their patients. But when a doctor has a reputation for dismissing the opinions and questions of patients and refuses to listen to them, that’s a huge red flag!

In my early 40’s, I visited a new rheumatologist. After viewing my X-rays and lab work, he said he hoped I was prepared to spend many years of my life in a wheel chair, because there was no cure for my disease. I wasn’t polite, and I walked out of his office.

I once had an unknown doctor who walked into my hospital room and announced his name. He followed that with “I am your doctor, and I know everything. You don’t need to ask me questions.” Nope! Not my doctor!

If your rheumatologist is a know-it-all, won’t listen to your concerns, or treats you with a lack of respect, find someone else! By the same token, make sure you treat the doctor respectfully, as well. This specialist must be your cheerleader when no one else is. He or she must be positive and want you to thrive. Otherwise, find one who will.

Companies that Pack Medication in Hard-to-Open Containers

While I recognize that child-proof containers keep children safe, there needs to be a happy medium! Seniors and those with RA-related pain struggle to remove those child-proof caps. And the blister-proof sheets holding pills! Don’t get me started on those! Rheumatoid arthritis patients often deal with hand and/or finger pain, making it difficult or impossible to manage those containers.

I don’t have an answer or even a suggestion to remedy this one. But it certainly seems like a country as advanced as ours could solve this one!

Family or Friends Who Push Favorite Remedies on You

Granted, there are some natural products that actually help with certain issues. But unless I’ve asked for such help, those suggestions only add to the noise. I really don’t appreciate unsolicited advice from anyone.

“Have you tried turmeric?” Or “if you would cut sugar completely out of your diet, you would feel better and get rid of your problem.”

How many versions of those sentences have you heard? I could write a book on the advice and suggestions I’ve received over my 40+ years of dealing with RA. This kind of advice may be my most disliked RA-related pet peeve of all, because it never goes away!

You may choose to try their suggestions or you could respond with “Thanks, but I only take diet and medical suggestions from my doctor.” Add a big smile and move on.

“My Cousin Had That & a Diet Change Was All She Needed”

If I had a dollar for the number of similar pieces of advice I’ve heard over the years, I would be living in a mansion on the ocean right now! I could change what I eat in a hundred different ways, but it won’t fix this. There is no cure for RA!

This RA-related pet peeve goes beyond annoying and even could hurt someone with a real weight problem. The nice way to stop this is again, the “thanks but only my doctor can call the shots on this disease, but I appreciate your concern.”


If you sometimes feel as though you spend too much time dealing with the RA-related pet peeves in your life, break them down into issues you can fix and those you cannot. After all, we cannot do it all! Decide now how to address the people who dismiss, annoy or downright piss you off with their comments. Join an online, social media group to vent your feelings about your pet peeves. Other members just might have suggestions that will help.

Address your family separately from acquaintances. Give them the basics they need to know. Tell them what you can and cannot do and ask them not to offer advice or help unless asked.

Work on your patience skills when dealing with others and situations you really can’t control. But don’t hesitate to speak up for yourself if someone takes advantage of you. We all deserve respect.

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