Seniors: Dealing with Arthritis

Dec 9th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Arthritis is an experience for senior citizens in “learning how to do enough without doing too much.” We returned to Texas a few weeks ago. Typically there are outside chores screaming to be addressed.  One of those came with the discovery of a wash-out along our front walkway.  A heavy enough rain, in our absence, had created one of those jobs I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with again.  Wrong!

So on the first day back, I literally attacked the eyesore and potentially more serious situation.   That involved digging, hauling rocks up a slight hill, healing the hole with same and cementing the walkway where the washing had removed dirt and rock.  I was at it until past 5 p.m., having started early morning. 

In short, I overdid it, and now, these weeks later, my joints protest too much. Appropriate exercise, learned at the hand of a physical therapist, walking, pain medication, rest, all of the above have been applied.  Nothing seems to completely settle it down.  The lesson: ”Learn to do enough without doing too much.”  My mistake was packing into one day that which should have taken three or more.  My mistake was lifting heavier objects than is desirable at my age and muscular incapability.  My mistake was not listening to my body (or my wife). 

My father, now deceased, suffered with rheumatoid arthritis most of his life.  I have known those whose joints and struggle with that disease is so much more intense and painful than anything I have known.  But they persevere.  We, with less debilitation, can learn from folks like these. 

When arthritis strikes, no matter which kind, we must adopt and stay within limits every hour of every day.  It is learning not to push the vehicle faster than it wants to go.  It is acknowledging that activity, while often rewarding, carries with it its price if overdone.  Our lesson is to learn our limits.  There are those, our age and even younger, who are faced with coping everyday with these messages.  Our body doesn’t seem to let us forget it. 

Create as much comfort as you can for yourself, while allowing your pride in what you can do to be disciplined by all that you should do.



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