Friday, August 19, 2011

The "Golden Rule" Of Health

Right now I'm avoiding my apartment while my fiance is having a rendezvous with pneumonia. Poor John - his immune system is almost as lame as mine. He thoughtfully insisted that I stay away until he has a few days of antibiotics under his belt. For the first time in history, I listened.

I've never been too diligent about distancing myself when he's sick, but more than ever, I understand the value of health. Now that Orencia is doing its thing, the last thing I'd want is to rock that boat. Since Orencia is an immunosuppressant, I need to be  extremely careful about avoiding germs at all costs. If a simple cold reaches my chest, it can be very difficult to treat, and potentially dangerous. It can also easily cause a full-body flare. I'm also not allowed to receive my infusions when I'm sick. Postponing an infusion means postponing my relief, and that's never ideal.

In short, I've finally made myself a priority and must protect my health at all costs. The same is true for anyone living with chronic illness. When you spend each day fighting an uphill battle, a cold is nothing to sneeze at (pun fully intended). What could be an unpleasant annoyance for someone with a stronger immune system, could de-rail our progress altogether. 

This next part is a simple, but vital message for the world...

If you're a healthy person overall, you probably don't give much thought to a cold.  It's unpleasant, but it's a temporary stumbling block. You'll get back on your feet soon, as long as you drink enough water, get plenty of sleep, and perhaps take some medicine. For other people - myself included - it's definitely not that simple.

You can help chronically ill individuals tremendously, simply by following the age-old "sick rules": covering your mouth, washing your hands, and keeping your distance whenever possible. You never know what someone might be battling,  and for people who have compromised immune systems. catching your illness could have life-lasting and dangerous consequences. Value the health of loved ones (and even strangers) as you might value your own. If you're feeling sick, but you have plans with honest about how you're feeling beforehand. Kindly give them the option of backing out and be understanding about their position. Remember that health is one of the greatest gifts you can give.



  1. excellent advice for all, maya. hope john is on the mend soon!

  2. HI Jodi! It's funny you should comment. You were the person who really got me thinking in this way! The first time we met, you wrote to say that you were sick and wanted to make sure I knew I could back out. Ever since then, I've been really aware of this golden rule. Thanks again ;)

  3. You might think about a pneumonia shot. My rheumatologist suggested it several years ago and I got one. I think it's good for 5 years. I also get a flu shot every year.

  4. Hi Maya, I wanted to stop by and introduce myself. I'm fairly new to Severe RA. Like you, I have embraced a positive approach to chronic illness.

    Thank you for this post! I have wrestled with helping others to understand this significant message. A "simple" cold is not so simple! People simply forget, so thanks for this reminder.

  5. And if I may say: take meds if the doctor told you soo: this way you will fight best the illness and not sread it to others. And get your vaccine shoot, this way you will not spread the illness !

  6. When I was first diagnosed, I was told to follow these rules by a mentor of mine (who happened to also be chronically-ill). I hope they help!

    1) Don't touch public handles - door handles, faucets, and water fountains (use a paper towel if you need too).

    2) Be aware of your surroundings - knowing who is sick around you can help you adjust your life.

    3) Don't be afraid to speak up! Telling your friends, family, and co-workers that if they're sick, you don't want to see them because it could cost your life. This will mean more to them than you'll know.

    4) Take your vitamins/minerals. Its the easiest way to try make our immune system as "normal" as possible!


  7. phat50chick: I didn't know there was a pneumonia shot! I will certainly look into that. I really appreciate your input.

    Thrive With RA: Thanks so much for stopping by and it's a pleasure to "meet you." I hope you'll become a "regular!"

    Jazzcat: Thanks for the comment - those are very important reminders!

    Kelby: As usual, you have some pretty awesome advice. I definitely have a "thing" about touching public handles, especially in bathrooms. I'll do anything to avoid hand-to-door knob contact and I've been known to look quite silly doing so. However, it's definitely worth it! Thanks for reminding us that we shouldn't take any short cuts when it comes to our health xoxo