Daydreams for a Better Future with PsA - Part 1
Last updated: August 2018
I spend a lot of time daydreaming. One thing I like to daydream about is finding a cure for psoriatic arthritis and for other chronic autoimmune conditions. What an incredible day that would be! Not long ago I got to daydreaming about other things I might look forward to, even if I don’t live to see a cure in my lifetime. I think there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful.
In the next few decades, I predict that virtual reality is going to explode. The most popular use might currently be for video gaming, but I see so many other applications that can help those with psoriatic arthritis. I know there have been a number of times that chronic illness has caused me to miss an event – a get together with friends, a movie outing, a family reunion. What if virtual reality allowed us to attend all of these without ever leaving our home? Maybe it’s been many years since you’ve had a vacation; maybe that’s because it’s difficult to travel with chronic pain and fatigue, or maybe it’s because the cost of medications make travel unaffordable. Virtual reality could solve this too. Think that sounds way too out there? There’s currently a company called FITT360 that sells a techy-looking necklace that records your surroundings, 360 degrees. With a pair of virtual reality goggles, you can relive your favourite outings, or you can log in and view OTHERS’ experiences. Always wanted to go skiing in the Alps, or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef? Virtual reality already makes this possible, and just think of where it will be 5 or 10 years from now. One of the best applications I see for VR in the future is for facilitating rheumatology appointments. It would no longer matter that there aren’t any rheumatologists or PsA specialists in your area… you would have every rheumatologist in your country at the touch of a button.
In the same category, technology has huge potential to better our lives. Think of all the things we can already do with Siri, Alexa, or Google. With these technologies, you don’t have to leave the couch to adjust the thermostat, turn the lights off, refill a prescription, or make a grocery list (while you’re at it, have those groceries delivered straight to your door and save yourself a trip). Remember when you had to leave the house to do your banking or rent a movie? But there are other things technology could do for us in the future. Great strides are being made to incorporate artificial intelligence into doctors’ offices to help diagnose patients and smoothly transition medical records from one provider to another. There are specialized medical bracelets that are currently in clinical trials to detect falls and heart attacks, calling for help when you can’t. Further into the future, there will likely be robots to help us clean the house, set our appointments, and help us remember important events when brain fog strikes. If all of this seems too far off, consider that even 15 years ago none of the above existed. Imagine what we’ll have 15 years from now. At the very least, I’m hopeful that the automated robo-phone at my pharmacist’s office will actually recognize my voice.
Hand-in-hand with better technology, I’m hopeful for better gadgets. There currently exists a wide variety of mobility aids and gadgets that can help around the home. With the advances in other areas, I have no reason to doubt that in the future there will be much better wheelchairs, scooters, shower attachments, stair climbers, can openers, and all sorts of other things I couldn’t possibly dream up. We’re clearly on track for a future where canes are archaic and something much better has taken their place. I can’t wait to see how entrepreneurs invent better compression gear, better shoes, and better apps for those who suffer with chronic conditions like psoriatic arthritis.
Bigger and better online communities
Two years ago, the Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Facebook page was launched. I remember being one of the first few people to like that page. Now, we have over 23,000 members and an incredible group of community contributors who come out with new stories every day. We started collecting community recommendations and publishing those products in regular articles. The site started running surveys that proved we’re not alone (“oh wow, 50% of survey respondents also struggle with changes in the weather!”). Every day there are more ways for you to connect with people who share in the challenges of PsA. Every day our voices grow stronger and more confident.
What about you? What are you hopeful for? Stay tuned for Part 2 (because I couldn’t fit all my daydreams into just one article).
Do you have any questions about PsA?