The worst response EVER


I’ve been talking more and more to my friends about my RA- they’re awesome and want to know as much as I’m willing to share which is somewhat of a shock to me.  Did I say already that they’re awesome?  Anyways, one of them asked me how people react when they find out about my diagnosis and I was reminded of this gem that I don’t think I’ve told you guys about.

Allow me to first give you some contextual information.  I may or may not have been attending a lunch meeting about volunteering for an organization that may or may not  be arthritis focused.  I may or may not have volunteered through email to help organize a silent auction.  I may or may not have been nervous about attending because this may or may not have been the first time I had really admitted to anyone about my RA. (After a year and a half of being pissed off at the world, I thought it was time to try to channel my energy into something positive.) And this person’s response may or may not be the sole reason why I may or may not have done a damn thing.  Let’s just call it the perfect storm, shall we?

Meeting Organizer:  Let’s go around, say our names, where we work, and our connection to the organization.

Amanda:  Hi, I’m Amanda, I’m in outside sales, and I’m a Rheumatoid Arthritis patient.

Older Lady Next To Me:  (Audible gasp)  AND YOU WORK???

Voice in my Head:  No crying, no cussing, no crying, no cussing.  

I was very much taken aback to have such an uninformed response in what should be a very well informed audience.  I still want to kick myself for simply nodding that yes, I do indeed work rather than giving a meatier answer that talked about meds, age, diet, working with my doctor to achieve goals and the fact that because I define myself so heavily by professional success, I would be in a very bad place if I couldn’t work.

I’m such a nerd that I really did go home and create a 30 second “elevator speech” in the offhand chance I should ever encounter said situation again.

3 responses »

  1. I had to laugh over your comments and creating an elevator pitch. We will always face ignorance regardless of place. My wife has RA and for us it is simply fact in conversations, but for others it sometimes seems like they are being told about a tragedy. When we meet new people and they invite us to engage in some active sport, for example, my wife or I simply state that we should limit the duration or the strain involved because of RA.

    Immediately, they assume my wife cannot do anything and that we should instead go for dinner or something that does not even require standing. After that, we inevitably have to explain just how long my wife can be active and what “torments” she will face if it is longer.

  2. Hello Amanda,
    Just found your blog and like it. I work a very physically demanding job and actually had a healthy co-worker tell me that he wished he had what I do (we don’t look sick). He would quit work and draw disability. Imagine that – being envied by a healthy (lazy) person.

  3. I’ve had something similar happen- had a “friend” forward me a spreadsheet of step by step how to document and say things to your doctor to help get put on disability. Which would be a good and fine thing….if this person needed it. Dishonest lazy people make things so much harder for those who really do need it!

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