Living with any disease can be difficult. Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis isn’t any different. The symptoms of RA can include fatigue, joint pain, stiffness and weakness. These are often accompanied by other flu-like symptoms and a low grade fever. In other words, it isn’t easy to deal with. The importance of a good support system is imperative.
Family and friends have always assisted me when necessary, but I always assumed that settling down with someone wasn’t really an option for me. It seemed unfair, asking someone to commit their life to me when I didn’t know if I would be able to turn on a lamp by myself the next day. My partner thankfully didn’t see it that way. After a little argument, I agreed.
Trying to hide my pain was first mistake. She always tells me that she can see it in my eyes, no matter how hard I try to conceal it. Dana is always the first on the scene with a blanket and some medicine. Sometimes it is impossible for me to get off the couch, but no matter what we find a way. The we was very hard for me to accept. Having an unfortunately large dose of stubborn pride always kept me from asking for help when I needed it. Sometimes there isn’t a choice.
It can become very frustrating to need assistance with getting a drink, getting off the toilet, or getting into bed. Being the larger of the two of us, it must be amusing to watch these activities. For the longest time, it felt like I had lost all of my dignity. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t feel a loss of dignity when they can’t even get themselves off the can. Being lifted off the toilet can feel the most embarrassing thing ever. When it is because of disease, and you know the person loves you though, it begins to get easier.
People outside of this household have no idea how much my survival depends on my other half. When I’m sick, it’s impossible to do much except lay sill, watching television. My hands, being affected the most, prevent me from even writing to you, my dear reader. It is amazing to have someone there to keep me company while I am miserable.
Many assume that we are an unusually close couple because we are both woman. However, I’m not so sure. We didn’t use to be this close. As the years pass, sometimes my RA is better, and sometimes it’s worse. What remains the consistent though, is the love I receive from my partner. I am not sure that I could have been that unselfish to someone else.
The years before committing to my partner were crazy, ridiculous times. (Who doesn’t have a few of those in their early 20’s?) I wasn’t a very nice person at all, but that all changed when I fell in love. Telling her about my disease wasn’t really an issue. Someone else did that for me. Telling her that sometimes I had to crawl to the bathroom was a lot more difficult.
However, that loving, angelic face is always right there, no matter what I need. I know that there isn’t a way that I can pay her back for what she has done. I also know that she doesn’t expect me to. That’s what love is about. Through the loving care she provides when I am ill, I have learned what commitment is all about. Never, in my life would I have expected to be loved that much. Even though I hate to say it, one point for debilitating disease. It has taught me to be more patient with things. Dana has taught me many things, but mostly about unconditional love. Sometimes it takes drastic circumstances coupled with a lot of love to overcome feelings of inadequacy because of an illness.