Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Fairy Tales of RA

Living with chronic illness has a lot of challenges, so in response to RA Warrior's challenge, here are some of the many things that bring me comfort and distraction in my life with rheumatoid arthritis. 

The first one would be getting lost in a good book.  Now when I do get sick it hits me harder and there is nothing more helpful than a really gripping story.  Thinking back to childhood this is the shelf in the library that I gravitated toward.  Over a few years I read nothing but collections of stories from around the world.

                                                       Fairy Tales collected by Andrew Lang

Fairy tales have coloured my view of what is the ideal comfort, and who can forget The Princess and the Pea.  Though she slept on a huge pile a feather beds she could still feel that irritating pea under her mattress.  I got a feather bed a few years ago and I don't believe she could have felt the pea. A feather bed is very cosy and comfortable, as we know from both fairy tales and historical fiction. You can put it on top of your regular mattress and test the pean theory with a piece of Lego.  It gets a big AAAH from me.

                                                                         A feather bed

The Princess and the Pea 

When I think of Little Red Riding Hood the first thing I see in my mind is the wolf, snuggled into Granny's bed with her sleeping cap on.  And I am sure the wolf is snuggled under a duvet.

There is nothing warmer and lighter to sleep under than a goose down duvet.  I have taken some advice I read once to use the duvet alone without a top sheet.  That makes it easy to shift at night and the bed is made with a shake in the morning. Sleep is vitally important in chronic disease.  That's why I am so fixated on maximum comfort and minimum irritation. 

Wolf in bed under duvet 

This fits into Little Red Riding Hood again and here we have the loyal pet dressed as the wolf and pretending to be Granny. "Oh what big teeth you have".  A pet is the source of so much comfort and fun for people.  Time and again I read of the devotion and strong connection between pets and those who live with them. It's healthy, often lifesaving, and a lot of fun to live with a "furry person".

Loyal Pet 

Cashmere shawl (worn by the good witches). I can't find a fairy tale to match this choice but I am convinced that good witches are not only nice but fluffy.  Nothing can match the luxurious feel of a soft shawl or wrap.

Fluffy Shawl

Hansel & Gretel

And now my final (and most scary comfort). What symbolizes comfort food better than the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel that is made of candy and sweets.  So tempting and I don't even have the excuse of being an undernourished small child. 

So much sugar to tempt Hansel and Gretel 

Fairy tales always have a dark and frightening side and so does the reason I am so attached to my comforts.  Chronic illness is a real burden, and unfortunately you never get to retire or toss it aside.  Giving treats to the body and soul makes it easier to cope and gives us something to look forward to.  Small pleasures are one of the joys of life.

This post is part of a blog carnival:
Ideas for Relieving Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

A very good idea from Kelly for an (almost) year end round up, so we can all go into the New Year happier and healthier.


  1. Love this Annette....I'll take a couple of those nice shawls. AND did I hear you may get yourselves a pet? LOL Hugs..Paula

  2. I've just recently gotten a cashmere shawl and keep in my recliner to fold and rest my elbows on. I plan on getting one more and taking them everywhere. My elbows hurt so and I cannot stand to lay them down even on my lap. Thanks

    1. Thanks for commenting. Two shawls sounds ideal, and so does a recliner. Did you notice RaWarrior's stand for her computer and coffee? That looks so helpful.

      Sorry your elbows are hurting.

  3. No pets on our horizon I'm afraid even though they do make you more healthy for so many reasons. That "wolf" dog was irresistable though, and such a stroke of luck he fit the theme.
    Seems that as the years pass I look back at the simple pleasures of childhood more fondly.

  4. You may have seen my blog on Ancient Reptile :-). If so, you know that animals play a big role in my life. There are the little cats and the medium-sized dog. The cats are great for sharing warmth. Sometimes when they are sitting on the arm of my big chair, they will "ooze" over and rest on my arm and wrist. Almost invariably, they seem to "know" that my arm and wrist are in "need" of their warmth. Himself says, "Nothing is so friendly as a cat with cold feet," but I say "Cats share warmth better than any other animal!"

  5. Now Where to find that cashmere shawl? And the feather bed and the goose-down duvet? I've GOT to try them! I like my waterbed (California King), but my husband can't stand being too warm, so I lie on a sheepskin. I wonder if the feather bed would help me with warmth. I know the duvet would help. So - a source?? These would add to my list of non-medical things that help relieve pain!
    Gentle hugs!

  6. I don't know where you live. I'm in Toronto and there is a bedding showroom/factory outlet very close. I got the featherbed there and I just put it on top of the mattress. Would that work with a waterbed? Never had one. It is a little heavy for me to fluff up every day.
    I got the duvet at The Bay - a department store here. It is goosedown and was on sale. I love it.
    Your sheepskin idea sounds really good. It should help.

    One thing we have that my husband enjoys is the mattress heater. He can warm the bed before he gets in. Thanks for the comments. Good luck in your search for the shawl. Mine was a lucky find.

    I'm interested in your mystery novel. It sounds like a great plan

  7. Annette I just love your blog, it always makes me smile, especially when I see the images popped in place. Some of my favourite comforts on bad days are my wheat bags, water bottle and since you mentioned the shawls I realised I have 2 pashminas tucked away that could work for me. I'm also a sucker for the sweet treats!! I say we've earned them!!

    1. Gilly you are so encouraging, and you always have more good ideas to add. These comforts are so helpful. If only I could make chocolates look ugly and mouldy, but no, I walk into the witches house over and over


  8. Annette, what a creative blend of fact and fiction!

    Can you hear it? That's the sound of my standing ovation. Bravo!

  9. Thanks so much Marianna. That means a lot coming from a person who did 365 great blog posts in a row. It has taken me 6 months to do 50 posts.

  10. What a great post! Thank you Annette for creatively blending fun fairy tales with great tips for the chronic patient. Can't wait to spend more time reading through your posts!

    1. Thanks Larrah
      I was looking back to my first posts and it has been a journey of discovery, and improvement. It was helpful to have Kelly pick a topic and then to mull it over for a few days.

      I'm so glad that you liked it


  11. Hi,
    I took a pair of goose feather duvets and this is so comfortable for whole night sleep's. I just love this and I am very happy that I share my experience on a great platform like this here.
    Thanks for the wonderful article

  12. Thanks for the commenty Daisy. Glad it helped.
    I just love duvets as you noticed. Getting good rest is so important. My theory is that if you sleep well you are less likely to get fibromyalgia. I may be wrong but so far no fibro.

  13. I love your post...I am going to share it on my blog:
    Your thinking is right up my alley! :)

  14. You have such a lovely style of teaching Anet...your posts are the very best. They are clever, useful, and downright entertaining. I find that when I hurt a lot I play Sudoku a lot. It takes such concentration that it helps me forget the pain. Some days it doesn't work all that well but that's when I try to nap. My theory is that if I am sleeping I won't know I'm hurting. LOL Well you know how well that works. I think I may need to look at bedding again. So far I just leave everything untucked. One cover that you "fluff" in the morning sounds good to me, especially when it is anything down. Looking forward to your 2016 posts. Roze