Many with RA find that non-RAers – even their own family members – not only don’t understand, not only don’t have a clue BUT they are rude, crude and cruel, unwittingly at times, impatiently at times, and deliberately at times. That generally has not been my experience, and I thank God daily for that!
Oh, yes, I’ve had the impatient cashier, the irritated parking attendant, and rough, painful exams by docs (I abandoned them to those who may appreciate them and went to others who were more gentle – and more knowledgeable about RA). But I’ve been blessed that they were few and far between.
When I go to the grocery, I’m in an electric cart, with my cane precariously balanced against the basket, and Emmy beside me. (What an ice breaker a service dog is!) If I am having difficulty locating anything, someone is always there to help me find it. (Today, three people helped me find the prepared horseradish. We went all over the store, twice, and they spent a good 15 minutes of their precious time.) Someone is almost always around to reach something for me that is beyond my reach (if not, and if it isn’t breakable, I’ll pull it down to the floor, and Emmy will retrieve it for me). The produce people are quick to help me find the best vegetables and fruit. The meat people are quick to help me find the best cuts for what I need. The cashiers are very patient when I take a while to unload my basket. In fact, by that time, I’m about ready to fall over, so the bag people will carefully unload my basket onto the conveyor belt for me. They will even crack open my milk jugs for me – and my juice bottles, too.
I guess I’m just supremely fortunate to live in a part of the country where people are still courteous and friendly. They may not understand the specifics of RA, but they recognize that the gray-haired old woman has some problems and needs some help. So they offer. I do a LOT of thank-youing and God-blessing when I go to the grocery.
Thanks be to God for the NICE people!