Psoriatic arthritis is considered an invisible illness because the public may have a hard time “seeing” our pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation. This may be true, but there’s no denying the sounds of the disease. Here’s an audio snapshot of my life with psoriatic arthritis.
1. Feeling like a cereal commercial
Growing up in the ’80s, the Rice Krispie cereal commercials always caught my eye. It was so much fun to sing along with the jingle: “Snap. Crackle. Pop.” Fast forward 20 years, to my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, and I’m no longer smiling.
I have a pretty unique talent. I can snap and pop both of my ankles, right hip, and right big toe almost on command. It’s not anything I encourage others to try. It’s just a fact of life for me. Thanks, PsA!
2. The ding of a cash register
Ok, maybe not the actual ding of a register (do pharmacies even have these anymore?), but when you have psoriatic arthritis, you do hear the beeps of prescription medication barcodes being scanned, and you know your pocketbook is definitely taking a ding. That alone is enough to leave you broke, but you can’t forget the other necessities: over the counter pain medications, sleep aids, heating pads, ice packs, canes, comfy blankets, splints, and more. All of that can certainly add up to some serious cash!
3. Elevator music
If you’ve ever been on hold with the pharmacy, insurance company or your doctor, you know the sound of elevator music coming through your phone. Your stomach drops when you hear “Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line. Your call will be answered in the order it was received.” And, as if to ease the blow of being caller 300 in the queue, you realize it could be 20 minutes or longer before you speak to a human. The worst is when you’ve waited so patiently for so long, just to be disconnected and need to start the process all over again.
4. Running water
Nearly every morning, I wake up, struggle to get out bed and make my way to the bathroom. I turn on the faucet and let the water run until it is nice and warm. I put my stiff hands under the water and wait for the heat to do it’s magic. I can usually tell if it will be a good day or a bad day by how long it takes my hands to get moving.
When time permits, I’ll take a shower. But if I’m in a flare, taking a shower actually depletes my energy faster. Sure, all of my joints might feel better, but at what cost. Sometimes, I’ll opt for a hot bath, but that comes with struggles, too. Getting in and out of the tub is not easy when knees are stiff and won’t bend.
5. TV Infomercials
“Painsomnia” is a term coined to explain lack of sleep at night due to pain. While I don’t experience painsomnia often, when I do, I usually go a week at a time with little to no sleep. To help pass the night, I have become an infomercial connoisseur. From magic pans to kitchen gadgets to the latest fitness craze, I think I’ve seen them all at 3 a.m. “If you call now, we’ll double your order!” No thanks. I need to save my money for the dings of the cash register at the pharmacy.