So, I had another week long flare-up that impacted my ability to walk. You do not appreciate simple things in life until you are no longer able to do them. Getting up to use the restroom. Getting a drink of water when you are thirsty. Basic things we do every day. I was unable to walk at all one day. As my husband readied himself for work, I was focused on dealing with the pain. He left my container of pain medication next to the couch with a bottle of water and something for breakfast. He said he would come home to check on me at lunchtime. Twenty minutes later, I had an earth stopping thought. I had to go to the bathroom and did not have a way to get there. I literally could not move my leg because of the intense pain. Try as I may, every time I tried to bend my leg, I saw fireworks. I was not able to get up and had to improvise to meet my bathroom needs. I will spare you the details. You don’t want to know. After that, I vowed that I would create a ditch bag for these occasions. I keep it packed and by my bed right now. It can be taken out to be used in the house or with me when I go to the hospital.
DITCH BAG FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS:
Sorry, but let’s be brutally honest here. If you have to use the restroom and you are unable to walk, you need to have solution. This is part one of my solution. Embarrassing-yes. A relief to have it if you really need it-yes! I have three of these in my bag.
Prevail Maximum Absorbency Incontinence Underwear 2X-Large 12 Count (Pack of 4) Breathable Rapid Absorption Discreet Comfort Fit Adult Diapers
Along with the depends, I have pads. If things are really bad, this might be the only option.
Medline Heavy Absorbency 36″ x 36″ Quilted Fluff And Polymer Disposable Underpads, 50 Per Case, Great Protection For Beds, Furniture, Surfaces
I am old fashioned and I still love the feel of a book. I have an Ipad with books loaded on it. The last thing I want to do is to track it down, make sure it is charged and worry about it if I go to the hospital. An unread book is a great distraction from the pain.
A couple of bottles of water to get you through the day.
I had a rough night and it showed in my hair. When I was in the hospital and they finally let me take a shower, all they had was a comb. My hair does not do well with a comb. Now, I have a secondary brush just for the bag.
Fortunately, for me, most of my flare-ups to my legs can be controlled within a 12-hour period. Does that mean that I can freely move around? No. It simply means that I am able to move without excruciating pain. Taking a shower may not be an option so using dry shampoo to “clean” my hair is an option. Batiste Dry Shampoo, Original Fragrance, 3 Count
ONE CHANGE OF CLEAN CLOTHES:
This is really for hospital stays but also when maybe you have been laying around too long and you are starting to smell ripe. Pull over shirts and tops with elastic waist bands such as sweatpants are a great fix. Easy to pack and to put on. Champion Women’s Fleece Open Bottom Pant, Granite Heather, Medium
For some reason, when I am having a flare up to my legs, my feet get cold. I like putting socks on to keep them warm.
I had hoped that this would be the miracle relief I needed when in a flare-up. For me, I do get relief from putting Biofreeze on my flare-up but I wish it was more. An extra bottle is now in my bag.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Spray, 4 oz. Aerosol Spray, Pack of 3, Colorless
If your’re hungry, you are hungry and not being able to get something is a terrible feeling. I have a couple of granola bars and a bag of popcorn in my bag.
I was not able to brush my teeth for an entire day. They felt grungy and yucky. I now have a pack of sugar-free gum to chew on. It is not a great alternative for brushing but it makes me feel better.
HAND SANITIZER: Great to have on hand. Get the small bottles.
WIPES: Great to give yourself a quick bath and make you feel clean.
GARBAGE BAG: To collect all the things used above.
In addition, the number one thing that has allowed me some freedom when the pain is almost bearable is a walker. I never thought I would be excited about a walker. It means independence for me. We had a work around solution and that was for me to sit in a chair and for my husband to push me on the hardwood floors. Not great on the floors. Not great on the chair and one major flaw. The chair was too large to get into the bathroom. Therefore, we purchased a walker with wheels that has a seat. It allows me to walk with support when I need it. To sit on and push myself when I need it. I can use the walker for support while carrying items on the seat. I never thought in a million years that I would love a walker but I do. For my husband, it signals old age. For me, it signals freedom of movement in my own home. That is huge. Be careful, though, because many of them are light weight so if you push hard on one side, it will topple over. Some are not for sitting for long periods. I use mine to transfer from the couch or bed to the walker and from the walker to the toilet or back to the bed or couch. They start in the $50.00 range. I bought my in bright red. Huge, huge relief to have it. I have already gotten my money out of it just by allowing me one day of use and freedom. I still need to figure out a way to get out of a laying position and into the walker when the pain is unbearable. Maybe, the solution is I don’t.
Drive Medical Nitro Euro Style Red Rollator Walker, Red