I have a lot of experience in living with RMDs, especially reumatoid arthritis. It began when I was a young, ten year old girl. I was hospitalized for three months. I was ill and in pain. And I was generally mad, at the world, at my mother who was the closest person to me. But still, I was a child. With friends from the childrens ward I played pranks. We put cups filled with water on half opened doors, we campaigned for French fries instead of those soggy potatoes for diner. Once I was back home again, my mother drove me to school, to parties and accompagnied me to the fysiotherapist. I couldn’t always participate with games or run with the other children in the playground. But I could keep score or be a referee.
With reumatoid arthritis I went through middle school. After that I went to university. Even then my mother drove me at times I couldn’t really walk. With reumatoid arthritis I found a job. And met a man that married me, arthritis and all. I had a son and seven years later I had another one. After much deliberation because by then I knew how satisfying having a child can be but also how big a task it is to care for and raise a child, especially when you have a chronic illness.
On the other side
And now I’m on the other side. I sympathize with my child when he fails a test in school. I sometimes drive him to parties and am happy he has a good time with his friends. I may shiver even harder than my son when he has to jump in the deep end of the pool during swimming lessons. And sometimes I remember that angry little 10 year old girl. And realize how much pain my mother must have felt because of my reumatoid arthritis
(Written April 2009, Translated May 2019)