I am surprised at the amount of medical knowledge I have gained in the last 3 years. Besides knowing how to give injections, being familiar with needle guages, being able to explain the difference between autoimmune arthritis and osteoarthritis, having thousands of dollars of biologic medicines in my refrigerator, and passing through airports with prefilled syringes, I have learned many, many things about autoimmune illnesses.
I have learned words like tenosynovitis, pericardial effusion, macrophage activation, and gastroparesis. I know the difference between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and bioligic medications. I have listened to symptoms and speculated (sometimes correctly) about whether it was an autoimmune illness. I have urged friends to seek a second medical opinion or to be more persistent with their doctors. I have a wheelchair and two sizes of crutches in my garage, and a 4-foot tall bookshelf literally full of medical supplies.
I can name at least 15 symptoms of 15 different autoimmune illnesses and 15 different medicines to treat them off the top of my head, probably more if I tried. I can tell you the difference between uveitis and iritis, oglioarticular and polyarticular juvenile arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis and still’s disease.
I have 3 pharmacies and 2 doctors on my phone favorites list, and probably a dozen more in my contact list. Half my friends on my regular facebook page are involved in the RA/JA community in some way. A dozen medical professionals recognize me and/or know me by name and remember most of Marty’s history without looking it up. I know the ins and outs of 3 different hospitals, and know the closest children’s ER almost as well as my own home. Marty and I know the cafeteria menu pattern at MasonicDocsRUs and can guide newcomers just about anywhere they need to go.
No, I’m not a medical student, but do I sound like a regular parent?