World Arthritis Day – Let’s Work Together!

October 12, 2009 at 12:01 am | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 1 Comment
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It’s World Arthritis Day and this year’s theme is ‘Let’s Work Together!’ It’s got me thinking about how lucky I am to still be in work considering I’ve got this dratted disease/illness/condition, whatever you want to call it.

I’m very grateful that I can still work, in spite of the R.A. It’s been a difficult road to travel, but I feel not nearly so difficult as for those in employment. Yes, it’s “mild R.A.” but when my symptoms are bad it doesn’t feel mild to me! As a self-employed person I don’t have to worry about breaking the news to the boss, explaining why I can’t play golf with the company, or put up with silly comments or lack of understanding from colleagues. I only have one colleague and she’s very understanding … if she’s not then she does a good job of hiding it, since I’m her boss (at least officially – we suffer from role reversal now and then).

There has been some research, sited in the excellent book on Living a Full Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis by Jasmine Jenkins (a delightful lady whom I had the pleasure to meet in Barcelona – Gosh – who’d have thought you could name-drop in the world of rheumatoid arthritis?), that suggests that self-employed people are likely to remain in work longer than those who are employed. If I remember rightly, since I can’t lay my hands on the book right now, it was suggested that this is due to difficulties with employers. On a bad day I wonder if it’s more to do with desperation – there’s no going off sick and still being paid by the company! On a normal day though I’m grateful that I can take small amounts of time off here and there to cope with a flare, and that I have been able to cut my hours back to normal full-time hours from slightly in sane morning and evening and weekend hours that I used to work, without having to justify myself to anyone except myself.

It would be good if World Arthritis Day, and indeed the My Day for RA site, brought some real understanding of rheumatoid arthritis to those who don’t have it but who have friends, family or colleagues who do, to lighten the load of those people in employment who have to put up with R.A. on top of all the usual frustrations of a job!

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  1. Great post! :)

    One of the reasons I want to go back to school next year is so that I can work for myself eventually. That’s not just because of my RA; I often prefer to have my independence anyway, but RA is a significant part of it. I want to be able to make my own schedule, and maybe even work from home so that, if I’m feeling rotten, I can easily take an afternoon nap or go for a walk.

    I find working 9-5 surprisingly difficult some days. It can be totally exhausting to be away from home and sitting at a desk for so long. And though I was technically busier in school, at least I could still do my work from bed if I needed to!

    You’re right – we do need more understanding, from friends, people we work with, and sometimes family. I hope World Arthritis Day can go some way toward reaching that goal.


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