Thursday, February 19, 2009


Some days, I think the hardest part about having RA is the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning.

The methotrexate seems to make me really tied for a couple of days after I take it, no matter how much I sleep. (Maybe too tired. I think I’m going to have to ask the rheumatologist about that on my next visit…) But general fatigue is similar too – I can’t seem to sleep it away no matter how much I try. Thankfully, I haven’t had an anxiety dream (like this or this or these) in a long while. But, honestly, I still never wake up feeling completely rested. I always wake up feeling tired. Which sucks. A lot.

Morning is also the time when my joints hurt the most. I’m stiff from sleeping and sometimes I get cramps in my legs in the middle of the night. Usually, I feel a lot better after I get up and get moving, but actually forcing through the stiffness to get out of bed sometimes takes more effort than I feel like I have.

That’s where my River comes in. Our sweet little puppy. (Ok, ok…River is actually two years old. But just let me be sappy because she’ll always be a puppy in my heart, ok?) River is a lab/border collie mix. When APL and I got river she was just eight weeks old and the cutest floppy black puppy you’ve ever seen. I fell so instantly in love with her that I literally cried when they told us we could take her home. At the time I was in the middle of my first year of law school, which is basically as stressful and horrible as rumored. River was my lifesaver, keeping me afloat through my second semester exhaustion. Every day I spent a much-needed hour of relaxation at the dog park, watching River play with the other dogs. Every evening after I finished my reading we would roll around on the floor and play together. She kept me sane.

These days, River helps me in other ways. APL has to be at work at 8:00am, which is way earlier than I am able to pull my aching bones out of bed in the morning. Every morning when he gets up to get in the shower, he lets River into our bedroom. She jumps up on the bed and falls back to sleep, usually curled up against the back of my legs.

Usually between 9:00am and 10:00am, River decides that it’s time for me to get up and sets about waking me up. She stretches and makes her adorable grumbling noises. Then she’ll decide how she feels like waking me up today. Some days she lays down right on top of me and wiggles. Some days I wake to her giving me face kisses. This morning she practically sat on my head and sent her tail wagging right on my head. No matter how she does it, I always wake up smiling.

Once I open my eyes I always reward her with petting and scratching. She’ll roll alongside me and I’ll rub her belly (including the bald spot she has on her chest from commando crawling. I can’t even begin to describe how hilarious it is when she does that.) She’ll give me kisses on my face and my hands. She’ll yawn and stretch some more, encouraging me to do the same. Then, when she thinks it’s time, she’ll jump off the bed and I’ll follow suit. We go downstairs and make a cup of tea. And every morning I feel a little more grateful to have such a loyal friend who takes care of me every single day.

Some days, I don’t know how I’d get out of bed without her. It’s totally worth a little dirt in the bed!


~kelly marie~ said...

Awwww. Sweet River! WOman's best friend :).

Rebecca said...

This post made me teary. Because I'm a weirdo. Moving on.

Avery said...

I absolutely get this. Some days, my dogs are all that keep me going through the pain and the fatigue and the brain fog that is RA.

Kisses to River, for being such a GOOD DOG.