Visiting my brother in Washington, DC was a fun break from the academic grind in 1977. So much to see and do! My older brother, a pharmacist, worked in a 24 hour drugstore right in the heart of DC. He showed me his store and happened to introduce me to the security guard on duty. Security guards weren’t needed in South Dakota pharmacies! The city was exciting and very interesting, but seemed dangerous to me. When it was time to leave, good-bye was difficult to say. The flight home was long and sad as I reflected on the perils of city life. When I got home, I immediately contacted my girlfriend, Lynn, as her sister lived in DC. She would be aware of the urban threats and would understand the fears I had for my sibling’s well-being. She simply explained when you live in a big city you adapt to the surroundings. You become “street smart”. I reasoned my brother was smart and athletic, so he’d be just fine. I never thought about the situation again! This sensible approach came to me when I was diagnosed with RA. I knew I’d moved to a new neighborhood and needed to develop “street smarts”! I didn’t want to live in fear, but I knew I was in a new place. Managing RA is a process. This is where I started!
#1 Know your medications! Know:
- The name (both brand and generic),strength and dose
- How it works ( also called mechanism of action)
- Potential side effects, drug or food interactions
- How to use or take the medication
- How to store the medication
This information can normally be found in the medication guide you receive from the pharmacy. It comes with your medication when you pick it up at the pharmacy. Read it and keep a copy.
#2 Know other diseases we are at risk for due to the RA such as heart disease, chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes, and stroke to name a few.
#3 How to monitor the medications such as routine lab tests or visual exams for example.
This is enough to digest for now! We don’t want to live in fear, but we do want to adapt to our new neighborhood! Welcome! The folks here are compassionate, understanding and all warm and fuzzy! (Not to mention informed!!) I would love to hear your thoughts!!
P.S. This is a photo of a cute neighborhood of lofts! Don’t mind the sign on the side of the building! XXO