#9 – Think P.C.

I'm not referring to Politically Correct or to Progressive Conservative. President's Choice? Nope. Nor is it a short form for Personal Computer.

Are you curious?

On this blog, P.C. refers to Protection and Conservation. It's something that was drilled into me by a wonderful physiotherapist, Anne, whom I see from time to time.

Of prime importance is the protection of the joints, thus preserving them for as long as possible. Some joints are replaceable, others are not. At any rate, it is more desirable to keep what you've been given.

It is also the protection of your health. Your rheumatologist will help you decide which medications will work best for you. If you experience side-effects, they need to be addressed.

You will also want to consider how you can protect your employment, your friendships and leisure activities. I will be discussing some ideas in future posts. You're welcome to join the discussion.

Conservation of energy is a requirement for when you live with a chronic debilitating disease. The disease process can be exhausting. As is the pain.

When your disease is active, the appointment Merry-Go-Round can be far from merry. The travel to and from your appointment, the waiting, the describing - all of it can eat away at what energy you have. Often, it's not just one appointment that you are dealing with; others could include specialists, diagnostic tests, physiotherapy, lab work, massage...

What makes matters worse, is that the pain of the disease can interrupt your sleep, leaving you with even fewer inner resources.

Conservation of mobility, flexibility and strength: keep what you have. If you can, find a physiotherapist who is familiar with treating a patient who has rheumatoid arthritis. They are well-positioned to help you with exercises that are appropriate for you and your condition. An occupational therapist is another problem-solver that can keep you doing the things you need, want and have to do.

How do you go about making P.C. thinking a habit - one which moves you to that all-important P.C. "acting"? It's a process of developing your awareness, gaining knowledge about what is available in terms of resources and asking yourself how to do things with the least amount of impact to your joints.

Consider the following suggestions:

  • Know your limits.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Get adequate rest.
  • Planning makes life easier.
  • Develop a good  treatment plan that includes a number of strategies.
  • Transform your stress.
  • Assemble a "team" that will best be able to advise and support you.

A big thanks to Casper McFadden for taking the time to help with this image and for being part of my team!

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