Moving cross country meant leaving my Wisconsin rheumatologist, Eric Gowing, MD, who had done an outstanding job of managing my RA, urticarial vasculitis, osteoporosis and Felty syndrome.
We dealt with my flare-ups of pain, stiffness, fatigue, vasculitis rash, low absolute neutrophil count and anemia as a team. Leaving such a fine physician and friend was a very difficult and frightening thing to do!
Dr. Erikson, who has bravely taken me on as his new Texas patient, told me, “Often, when I see a patient with such a complicated history as you have, I am given nothing to go on. But this time, Dr. Gowing provided a very thorough history and summary of your care for me to review. This is great!”
At the request of my new Texas internal medicine physician, I brought records of my last office visit with each of my Wisconsin doctors for her to refer to. This has been a great help to her, also.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself During This Stressful Time
Moving cross country brings with it a lot of stress. Stress has the potential to cause a flare-up of RA symptoms, so this is an opportune time to manage it both physically and emotionally.
My emotional state has a tremendous impact on how well I feel. The moving van arrived eight days after we did, not as quickly we had hoped for. The pest control man arrived over an hour late and never called. A 90-day supply of the wrong generic brand of ropinirole was sent by my new mail-order pharmacy because of an error when it was ordered. Our Internet connection did not go smoothly, and my daughter spent hours fixing it. Towers of boxes needed unpacking.
I needed to remember that many of these frustrations were out of my control. I could only control my reaction to them and take better care of myself. I started by pacing my activities. Not every box needed to be unpacked the first week.
Music brings me tremendous joy and peace. I auditioned for the East Texas Symphonic Band and was accepted into the euphonium (baritone horn) section. Focusing on music brought down my stress level. We performed our first concert of the season, and it was a thrill to perform on stage. I am “the older lady in 5th chair.”
We have been caring for Kate, our granddaughter. Even on days when I feel more stiff and fatigued, Kate is a cute distraction, so I forget how I feel. My grandson, Matthew, says, “Grandma is slow, but I love her anyway.” I am the “art grandma” and not the one who sits on the floor, but that is just fine with him. Children are very accepting of deformed fingers and a grandma who cannot open colored markers.