Finding Understanding


Family and friends are important through our entire lives. The post Forever Friends discussed the value of having strong relationships. It make us feel good knowing that there are people in the world that care about how we feel and who try to understand the things that we might be going through in our life. Understanding is an important characteristic to have amongst good friends.

With a disease like JRA/RA life can be hard to understand. Sometimes we don’t look or feel sick at all. Then other days simple tasks feel like fighting a giant monster. It’s inconsistent at times and it feels like it fakes us out because some things that were easy one day are hard the next. It can be hard to explain to other people. That is why understanding friends are great to have. It is also very important to be understanding with your own self as well as being understanding to the fact that not everybody can relate to you and your disease. Try not to get upset that some people, even doctors, just won’t understand.

I don’t like to let on when I feel bad. That makes it difficult when I need a good, understanding friend but they don’t know about the pain, worries, or frustrations I am feeling. Try to explain to the people you trust how sometimes you just need them to be understanding or ask how you’ve been feeling. Finding understanding with the caring people around you is one of the best medicines for you! -pm


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Show Me Love

rockandwaterMany people do things to show love and respect for their significant other. Helping with chores, errands, work are nice ways to show that you care. Wearing a certain outfit or cologne that appeals to them has a double benefit for you and your partner. How about the way you care for your health?

Many people think that when they are taking time to fit in a workout or schedule a doctors appointment that they are being selfish. Contrary, the exact opposite is true. The people that love and care for you want you to look and feel your best. If you neglect basic health management then you are actually sending the message that they are not a priority. Think back when your mom or dad had the flu when you were a kid. Didn’t it seem like the universe was out of whack? SuperParents don’t get sick! It wasn’t fun to see your parents out of commission and it was even worse when they wouldn’t stop to get the rest that they needed. If they would just slow down and rest up then they would get better faster and life would be better for everyone. It’s not that they were intentionally trying to perpetuate the situation; they most likely felt they were doing the right thing by not taking time for their own well being. If you said to your ill parent, “hey please rest”, and they refused, did you feel like your feelings were discounted?

Don’t discount the people that care about you. Care for them, respect yourself and manage your health. You will manage the rest of your life better when you feel better. -pm


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Doctor, doctor Part II

redbandaidsThe trip to the doctor isn’t fun – we determined that in Part I.  Now in part II I will suggest 3 lists to take with you to your next doctor’s visit. It’s important to be an informed patient. To get the best care from you doctor you have to be prepared and smart.

1. The Question List

The Question List is going to be the one that has every little ache and pain that you forget about once the doctor enters the room. It’s a good idea to keep an ongoing list of items between visits.  Just before you go, mark off ones that are no longer an issue and prioritize them in order of importance.

2. The Medicine List

The Medicine List should list every prescribed, over-the-counter, and vitamin/herb supplement, with dosage.  It’s is important because there are many medicines that sound the same, are close in spelling, and have a range of doses.  Even if you don’t take anything on a regular basis think back if another doctor prescribed something for a flu or cold, if you had taken pills for blood pressure but don’t need them now – things like this can give a doctor clues to your medical history. Add any allergies too.

3. The Info/Contact List

This list will have all the junk that you might need for the stack of forms you might need to fill out.  Have your insurance information ready(there are 2 or 3 numbers on the card that they might need even though they copy your card, so take your card too.). Have the names and numbers of the friends and family that you trust to be your emergency contacts. Write down medical history information like past surgeries that you’ve had, major illness that you are aware of in your family and who had/has it.

The smarter and more prepared you are the more serious your doctor will take you.  Hopefully, it will result in better care.  If you don’t feel like you are getting the care you deserve from your doctor, move on.  You already have your lists made. -pm

Other articles in this series:

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Doctor, doctor

redbandaidsMost of us hate going to the doctor.  Some avoid it at all cost, unfortunately many people are dependent on regular visits in order to manage their medical conditions. I’ve heard people tell me that they wouldn’t even go if it weren’t necessary to get their prescriptions refilled.  So why is it? What’s the reason we hate the doctor?  Where do I start?

First it’s expensive.  You’ve got your co-pay, actual payment, and then medicine-to be brief.  Second, it’s time consuming.  I don’t know why they don’t just suggest that patients show up “sometime in the morning” or “after the noon hour.” The scheduling process is poor and aggravating.  I certainly understand that there are several patients to be seen in a given amount of time, but that should not result in forcing the patients to wait.  Third, loss of faith. I believe that too many doctors have taken on a larger work load than they can manage and it has contributed to poor medical care.  I have witnessed a doctor breeze in to visit with a patient, barely make eye contact, nodding his head while passively listening to the patient’s complaint, while reading over the chart. Well, I assume it was the patient’s chart, he might have been placing his lunch order for all I know.  The diagnosis was to take some NSAID and wait it out a few weeks, then return if that didn’t do it.  So…tell me why anyone would want to spend time and money to do a job that the trusty internet can do? Health care in the United States is scary.  I will stop there.

These days a visit to the doctor requires the patient to be smart and prepared.  Yes, prepared.  Next time read the 3 lists that you should take with you on your next trip to the doctor.  Munch an apple in the meantime. Can’t hurt, might help. -pm

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Milk is for Babies

You might be surprised to learn that the vegan diet is not unheard of to many top performing athletes. Here’s a quick list from wikipedia:

Many people are afraid of what they might be giving up if they commit to a vegetarian or vegan diet.  Surprisingly, many find that they discover a way of living and eating that they were missing out on. Recovery fuel is very important after a workout. Several athletes turn to sports drinks to replace electrolytes and restore glycogen that gets depleted during activity. For a while milk was campaigning that it was the perfect way to recharge after a workout. It’s not.  Nor is it a prime selection for the average human being.  Just for a moment, forget everything that you’ve been brought up believing about milk.  Now think about your strong, energetic dog who can play fetch endlessly without growing as tired as your pitching arm.  When Fido was a puppy he drank milk from his mother.  The puppy drank dog’s milk; not cat’s milk, not cow’s milk, or any other milk produced by any other animal. Once Fido grows out of the puppy stage and can safely survive without his mothers milk then he gets his nutrition from solid food sources and when he is thirsty – yep, water.  No, he doesn’t go seeking out any milk sources from any other living being.

Then same goes for all animals.  Babies need their mothers milk, but beyond that they survive and thrive without milk products. Milk allergies are actually very common in adults. The idea that a person’s nutrition or sports performancde will suffer with out milk is a false notion.  There are plenty of nutrients in the fresh diet that athletes and active people should be consuming.  Check out the Vegan Athlete for ideas.  Vegetarian Sports Nutrition is a book that suggests meal plans for activities ranging from endurance sports to bodybuilding.  Even if you are not wanting to go vegan, variety it the spice of life.  Please your palate with something new and don’t be afraid to question what and why you put something into your body.  Just because it’s been done for decades doesn’t mean it has to be done anymore. Viva vegan, viva happy! -pm

“When you have no restrictions you have less options” -David T. Wilcox on being vegan.

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Kid’s Fitness

In this day of video games and DVDs, kids and adults are in need of more daily activity. Physical activity. The kind where they run around until they can’t catch a breath or pedal a bike so hard they make going uphill look like a slide down a mountain side. These days so many kids are out of touch with fitness that grandma’s knitting looks like cardio. USA Today says that one-third of U.S. adolescents are overweight. With easy access to junk food and limited physical activity the number will continue to rise. School physical education classes help but are not enough. Like many life long habits, kids imitate actions of their parents. Good health habits start at home. Teach kids that food and fitness is a good thing to understand and prove it. Get the family involved in physical activities as a whole as well as individually. Many gyms are adding kid’s aerobics to their schedule of events. Sign ’em up! Get them involved in learning how to fit fitness into their schedules at an early age so it isn’t an intrusion later in life when the doctor is brow beating Jr. to drop a few lbs. Prevention is key to avoiding heart disease, type II diabetes, and other serious health problems. It is important to teach kids how to nourish their bodies with good nutrition and exercise for keeping the body functional throughout life. No, not every person is a born athlete but everyone can be fit like one. After all, Physical Matters! -pm

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