Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rheumatoid Arthritis Tips Book Review

This is my review of 250 Tips for Making Life With Arthritis Easier.

Sounds like an amazing book. But actually, if you are an efficient homemaker, you may have heard some of them before – like cooking extra food and freezing the leftovers; and getting family members to participate in meal planning.

Hey, I actually get them to help cook. Or better yet, to take their own turn cooking!
Tips #77 and #65 suggest having someone put your various detergents into smaller, more manageable containers for you. If you have not done this, do it as soon as you are able. It is a good idea. I had to do that a few years ago.

Changing doorknobs or other hardware is another good idea. But, it does require help to do. I like #161 and I had done it right away: replace dishes and cookware that is too heavy.

Another one that I have already adopted is using a jelly-roll type pan underneath of baking dishes which are difficult to handle, like pie pans. Personally, I have taken to avoiding the big oven entirely so that I will not have to bend down and try to lift heavy pans. I bought a large toaster oven and that can do most of my everyday baking. And I have 5 kids!

Other good tips are related to making use of certain tools like utility carts, grabbers, and Lazy Susan turntables. There are a few good suggestions for adapting to life in a wheelchair. Similarly, I like the ones which address being confined to bed.

The most creative tip is #214: avoid any pressure on your feet from bedding. Build up a footboard and lay the covers across it so they will not even touch your feet. Now that would have helped me when my feet were doubled in size from RA swelling. Hope I never need to use it!

My very favorite tip in this book is to get a lightweight vacuum (#71). This is very important unless you have a maid. I searched for a couple of years and finally got the best lightweight vacuum in the world. It is a Simplicity Freedom. I have been through 7 vacuums and now I am have died and gone to vacuum heaven. It is the lightest and the strongest - and it may be my last vacuum. For the first time in over 3 years, I can actually vacuum. But only if I really want to!

For the most part, the book is common sense; we all need that. However, I did find many of the tips had to do with getting organized or cleaning. Maybe this would be good for someone who has issues with feeling organizationally-challenged. My problem centers more on a sudden and extreme disability.

While I feel apologetic to be negative about something done by the Arthritis Foundation, I did not feel that the editors understood what living with RA is like (the book is for both RA and OA). Tip #70 says, “Use permanent marker to mark quart, half-gallon, and gallon lines on your cleaning bucket. The markings will make it easy to mix the right amount of cleaning solutions.” There is NO WAY I am using a cleaning bucket! But that’s me.

There were several other examples of this though, like cleaning out the lint trap of the dryer with a dryer sheet. Ouch.

I was so excited when I saw this book at the library. Finally, I would find out how to make life with Rheumatoid Arthritis come easier. But, not so much. I was mostly disappointed because I could see that the editors did not relate to my actual difficulties in living with RA.

Most of the tips are not specifically appropriate for Rheumatoid Arthritis. And some others are just plain not feasible if you have RA. I recommend that you save money and get the book from the library. You can read it casually while watching a baseball game this summer. Find a few good ideas, and laugh off the rest.

I also have a tip for the Arthritis Foundation: perhaps one day you can update the book using contributions sent in by actual RA patients. And then, have someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis edit the new book, too.


MissDazey said...

We changed our doorknobs and have done many little things to make life easier. The grabber thingy..I don't have enough hand strength to use one. Hubby likes it though.

I am still surprised how many books have been written on the subject on arthritis and RA. You are right, some of the ideas in are just filler and some plumb silly. I get the Arthritis magazine, some good articles, but again too much filler and a way too many ads.

I think one of my problems is at my age I have read all this before.

Kelly said...

Yep, no grabber for me.

And no cane either.

What will I do when all of my sons are grown too tall and I have no one (just the right height) to lean on when I can't walk?