Posted: May 25th, 2022
life of a patient dealing with the chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that can cause redness, swelling, pain, tenderness, stiffness, and abnormality of numerous joints of the body. For patients that are dealing with this type illness, each day’s activities can present a lot of trials. In this patient case, there were a lot of simple activities, which we people take for granted, can model a major problem for a patient that is dealing with rheumatoid arthritis.
Social, Financial, and Personal Effects
Donna is a 44-year-old wife and mother of two children and have had severe rheumatoid arthritis now for closely 14 years. Her husband is understanding and helpful. The disease has caused malformation of her feet and hands. The patients fingers are identifiably knotted and have bumps, known as nodules. Her wrists have practically bonded so that I can move them actually just a little. The patient’s toes have raised up and she has all these calluses under the pads at the bottoms of her feet. Her knees are chronically slightly swollen as are many of the small joints of her knuckles.
As far as the social effect physical activities for her have been difficult and she had to give up participating in sports, even though she could still enjoy watching them however, losing an opportunity to meet other people is something they feel bad about. She mentioned that when she picked her children up from school she felt like she had to stay in her car for the reason that she couldn’t put up with the ‘struggle’ of getting out of it. Therefore she missed talking to other mothers at the school gate.
People who were recently diagnosed described an adjustment period which involved changes to their everyday lives and routines including socializing and leisure activities. Her social life has not been easy at all. She made the point that instead of going out to big events she will just opt to go out to dinner. The patient even mentioned the fact that going out to a club has been substituted by cinema visits. She made the point that she had to plan and organize all of her activities in advance. She even said that they turned down invites to go out at night for the reason that she did not have the energy. At one time it was so bad that she stayed indoors for months, without going out, recovering from operations. She understood that his immune system could be weak, so she inclined to just stay away from parties or other gatherings.
The personal effects on Donna have been really hard as well. For instance, the kids have to prepare their own breakfast cereals. She normally just eats toast with jelly and then has a bowl of cereal. With my breakfast, Donna does take her medications. Each of her bottles has an easy-open lid for patients that are suffering from arthritis. Because her joint pains were particularly worrisome the day of the observation, she added acetaminophen (Tylenol). Donna has to put her medications all the way out of normal reach of the children because a lot of them have chemicals that could be damaging to them.
Even hygiene affects her personally. When breakfast is over, it’s time for her morning hygiene activity. For Donna, using a toilet can be challenging to someone with substantial arthritis of the knees and hips. In her house, she has added cheap artificial raised toilet seat attachments in order to help her with the toilet. This means that she does not have to strain her joints upon sitting down and then getting back up again. When it comes to her teeth, she has found that an electric toothbrush does a better job than what she can do working a brush with her hands. Donna arthritis is difficult because of the severe dryness of the mouth, which is a condition called Sjogren’s condition, which makes her vulnerable to tooth deterioration. Donna has to visit the dentist very frequently and brush and floss frequently. She is not able to floss without the help of a Y-formed floss holder.
For many patients like the one is this essay, the chronic fatigue and pain associated with the condition interferes significantly with her ability to just be able to function normally. Therefore, in her situation, it has taken away her ability to work. One study projected that as many as one-third of people with RA are forced to stop working within 10 years of being diagnosed (Dessein, 2005). This makes loss of productivity an important part of the overall burden of the disease as in the case of Donna. Additionally, the many health complications associated with what she is going through has made the disease expensive from a cost position because she has not been able to afford some of the treatment.
RA has restrict Donna ability to carry out tasks connected to work and in the past has actually reduced the amount that she has been able to work. On some jobs she had mangers that would make changes in employment to accommodate her disability. There were times because the disease was so bad, Donna had to leave the workforce overall. She has over the course of a lifetime lost quite a bit of money because of her condition. One study discovered that limitations in work often affect individuals with RA early in the course of the disease, with the use of disability benefits increasing abruptly inside 2 years of diagnosis. (Pool, 2011)
Donna started her battle with RA nearly six years ago just before my 39th birthday. She was sitting at her desk at when the phone rang. The doctor was giving her a call from his office and it was a call that Donna had been waiting for — the reply to why she was so tired, having continuous migraines, and an amount of other painful troubles. Donna found out that she had Lupus. Not too long after that she was sitting in the doctor’s office with her parents, laying on the exam table just waiting for a different doctor to give her a second opinion and to figure out what was going on in her body. This was the follow up appointment for Donna that she was provided with the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, and also with the signs of Sjogren’s syndrome.
Research shows that autoimmune diseases often comes, at the very slightest, together (Soderlin M., 2011). With that said, my Donna is fairly usual in that her RA is followed by Sjorgren’s a sickness which affects the glands in the body that create moisture and Hashimoto’s an autoimmune disease that mirrors hypothyroidism basically saying that it slows down the purpose of the thyroid bringing on other things such as fatigue and weight gain. Alongside with the diagnosis of the condition then came the MRIs, blood work plus the chest x-rays, and other tests as well as one to measure her feet for orthotics. This is an insertion that some kind of way fits in the shoe and is thought to decrease pain faced when walking. The test had something to do with walking on this special kind of mat that was connected to the computer in order to take these certain types of measurements. When the nurse entered my birth date into the computer, the program rejected it. She tried it again a couple of times.
Later on, Donna was put on six new medications which involved a drug called a Plaquenil which is an immunosuppressant. An immunosuppressant overpowers the immune system in order for it to slow down the attack on a person’s body (Binning, 2011). Donna made the point that at the time she was going through severe pain and there were just a handful of medications that were actually helping. However with any kind of diseases there are a few trial and errors before she was able to discover the right ones. Unluckily a lot of the medication likewise means that Donna would be less able to fight off normal illnesses making the patient more vulnerable to the flu and colds. As a person with what is now recognized as “compromised immune system” (Dessein, 2005) Donna does now fall in the group of individuals for whom flu shots are basically obligatory.
With Donna’s RA experience “flares” in the disease, which means at times the symptoms will start to increase without the slightest warning. Donna was all the way not prepared for what a patient actually goes through when they are experiencing some flare ups. Donna explains that the first one she had hit was on a Sunday morning. She had not even been up that long. Donna explained that she was standing in the bathroom just looking in the mirror when she suddenly became conscious of pain that started spreading from my face all over her whole body down to her feet. Donna had to call her husband just to help me back in to the bed. Donna explained during this experience that she did not know what was going on, if she was having some kind of reaction to all of the new medicines that were giving to her or if this was some other new way that her body was reacting.
With Donna the only thing that she had changed was the medicine and also her daily routines because some of the things that she used to be able to perform prior without help, she know needed some assistance. Her husbands and her kids all stepped in to help her. For Donna and since her condition was severe, change was actually welcomed by her. She felt that her pain was actually a motivator that let her know that something new had to be done. Even changing her diet was something she did not want to do but did it anyone in order to bring less stress to her body.
The experience was very educational and I learned a lot about the other conditions that were parallel with RA. Understanding Donna and her process was interesting because I was able to learn firsthand the horrible pain that these patients go through. Also, I was able to learn how expensive it is just to treat this condition. It was mind-blowing to find out how their social life changes and how just going to the market quickly turns into not going anywhere at all.
Akil, M.A. (2012). Rheumatoid arthritis. British Medical Journal, 34-67.
Binning, M. (2011). Modern drug treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis. Australian Nursing Journal, 32(12), 12-23.
Dessein, P.J. (2005). Effects of disease modifying agents and dietary intervention on insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in inflammatory arthritis: a pilot study. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 112-124.
Pisetsky, D. & . (2012). Progress in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of the American Medical Association, 24(11), 2787-2791.
Pool, A. & . (2011). The effects of exercise on the hormonal and immune systems in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology, 28(34), 300-345.
Soderlin M., K.H. (2011). Infections preceding early arthritis in southern Sweden: A prospective population-based study. Journal of Rheumatology, 30, 459-464.
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