Liam, age 10, lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I remember going to one doctor and they told me people don’t usually get it until they’re older. I got it in my knees first, now ankles, fingers, and I think I might have it in my back. When I wake up my knees and ankles hurt and my back really hurts.
MOM: He’s easy going, except in the morning. He’s a whole different kid in the morning because of the pain.
I go to lunch every Wednesday—it’s for different kids, 5th and 4th graders who have any disorders, and we talk about it. About half the kids have RA but we all have to go to the hospital a lot and we don’t like it.
They kept asking me if I did anything to break my leg and they kept asking. They asked a lot.
Mom: It was almost a month that he was in a cast, permanently damaging his knee. No one thought of it. “No, you must have broken your leg.”
When I got to the doctor for my Arthritis I don’t get how my arthritis is happening and I don’t know what happens to the joints. I didn’t get a lot of the words they told me—it gets complicated…
MOM: What’s the term you use for when you can’t move your hands?
LIAM: If my hands are in one position for a long time they get ‘frozen’.
MOM: He tends to say he’s fine when he’s not fine.
LIAM: When? (laughs)
MOM: He’s accustomed to being uncomfortable. But he’s patient with people.
Usually I can’t wait until it gets bad; my medicine takes a long time to work.
At nighttime I give them food and my sisters get the eggs.
I give the sheep hay. It’s hard—the hay is heavy. When we have lambs we have to split them up.
I want to work for the Animal Welfare Society and be a ski coach, which I can do when I’m 16.
Heal/Tell is a series of narrative and portraits by Cathy Plourde, Director of Add Verb Productions and Holly Haywood of the University of New England.
Please leave a comment – do you live with chronic pain? What helps you?
Learn more about the 11th Annual UNE Interprofessional Spring Symposium: the Science of Pain and the Art of Healing, April 4, 2013, Biddeford Maine.