Watch with broken hands

Everything Takes Longer with Psoriatic Arthritis

I often joke that I move at a snail’s pace. The truth is that I really do move slower than my friends and family. I can’t blame my age, because at 50 it is really not that old especially when I turned into a snail at 30. But I do blame psoriatic arthritis and my other chronic illnesses for my slow-moving strides.

Here are a few everyday tasks in which I move at a snail’s pace:

Wait up! The slow walker

I can’t blame my short stature for not being able to walk as fast as my long-legged friends. I never had a problem keeping up with them before I became chronically ill. Even now that I have my chronic pain well managed, no matter how hard I try, I continue to walk slower than my friends, short or tall.

When you consider that the worst of my bone and joint problems are located in my sacrum and spine, it makes sense that I am unable to move quickly. While wanting to do a marathon is still a dream of mine, I have no expectation of winning it. I am just thrilled to be back on my feet.

The task of reading

Since chronic pain entered my life, I noticed that it takes me longer to comprehend what I am reading. After I read a paragraph, I have to reread it, then reread it again, and maybe reread it one more time before I understand what is being said. To reduce how many times I reread something, I have to force myself to slow down and take the paragraph in one word at a time.

Speed reading gets me into trouble. For example, I wanted to buy fabric the other day. Instead of putting the store into my GPS, my brain said, “I remember where it is, the big orange letters are impossible to miss”. It was partially correct, the letters were impossible to miss.

The problem was my brain never went beyond the first two letters and instead of pulling into the parking lot of Hobby Lobby, I pulled up to Hooters!

Slow to answer everyday questions

For the past twenty years, I have struggled with answering questions. Losing my words to chronic pain is just one part of the problem. Most of the time it is because I really don’t know how to answer questions like: “How are you feeling?” “Do you want to go out to eat?” and "Do you want to register for this event?”

The answer to all three is often, “Yes, no, I don’t know!”

How I feel could change in the next five minutes. Choosing where and what to eat is complicated because of food allergies and sensitivities. And because my issues with food aren’t common or easily defined, eating out is like playing a game of Russian Roulette.

With my pain well managed, I often find myself committing to everything I am invited to. However, if I have learned anything in the past year, it is that my chronic illnesses aren’t the only reason I may have to cancel. Accidents and injuries caused me to cancel many of the commitments I made in the past twelve months.

Finding acceptance in healing slower

I used to get annoyed when I didn’t heal as quickly as my doctors had suggested. But twenty years later, I realize that the time frames I was given were for the average person, not of a person who has multiple chronic illnesses.

I take longer to recover from surgery, bronchitis, broken bones, sprains, etc. If the average healing time for an injury is 6-8 weeks, my body needs 10-16. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to spend all the time past the average healing span explaining to friends and family how it is normal for my body to take longer to heal.

As I said, these are just a few of the things that take me longer to do because of my other chronic illnesses.

How has having psoriatic arthritis slowed you down?

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