Do These Pills Make Me Look Fat?

“See? We even made room for you.”

I have a love/hate relationship with prednisone.

On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to climb stairs like a normal human being instead of dragging my legs behind me like some mutant zombie freak.  And being the efficiency nut that I am, I love finishing projects in record speed because, well, your body acts like it’s on speed.

Organize the kitchen cabinets – 40 minutes.
Sort, fold and purge all of the kids’ old clothes – 1.5 hours (including a trip to Salvation Army!).
Install shelves in the basement – 2 hours at 2am.

“Mania, schmania!!  These shelves look fantastic!!!  What else can I get done this morning?! BOOYEAH!!!

On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of the side effects, including, but of course not limited to, loss of bone density, insomnia and weight gain.  It’s the last one that gets me, not because I’m vain – which I’m not – but because I came home yesterday after an afternoon of window shopping to discover a huge rip in my pants…right up the crack.

Yes, all of 900 North got to see my granny pants underwear.

And yet my biggest gripe about the drug is the dependence.  On nights when I forget to take the pill – because I’m too tired or distracted – I awake the next morning in a panic because I know that half the day is simply gone.  The limited range of motion as I hoist myself out of bed and lumber to the bathroom will tell me how slow I will be today, but not how much pain I’ll be in as my body systematically turns on itself, joint by joint. That will have to wait until I’m in the car during morning drop off when it feels like little elves have taken pickaxes to every nook and cranny of my weary frame.

Me no likey RA.

I tell the kids that everything in life is to be embraced – that they have to take the good, take the bad, take them both and there you have – sing it with me – the facts of life! The facts of life!  This diagnosis is not something to be beaten, but something to be integrated.  If the body is tired, slow down.  If the body is happy, enjoy.  And if the body is stuck, ask for help.

“Um, Lori….Lori….LORI!!!!!” I was trying very hard not to panic.

“Coming….” I could hear her skipping stairs in her hurry to reach me.  She stopped at the bathroom door, took one look, and burst out laughing.

“How long have you been trying to get that shirt off?”

I had pushed my right arm through the neck hole of my T-shirt, in an attempt to lift the whole shirt over my head without using my left arm, which hung limp at my side.  My RA had decided that today, it would go bats*&% on my shoulder joint.  In my mouth, I had a corner of the collar because in the 15 minutes that I had been contorting my body, I had now come up with the brilliant idea of trying to shred the shirt with my teeth.  Desperate times…

It took us less than 30 seconds to get my shirt off.  All that time wasted being independent, when I had a partner with whom I could be interdependent…

As she lowered me into the Epsom salt bath, I gave her a quick peck on the cheek.  “I didn’t think we’d be doing this for another 20 years.”

“No worries,” she replied, giving me a peck back.  “I’ll still be here.”

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