The Problem with Selfies when You Have RA

HealthCentral boss-person: “we want to do a cool project with selfies and quotes from people with chronic illness. Can you do one?”

Me: “of course!”

Yeah, well. That turned out to be little more complicated than I thought. My RA got in the way.

It’s like this. You know that effortless move you make when you hold your mobile phone in front of you and press that middle button to take a photo while looking as glamorous as you can?

I can’t do that. Either the glamorous or the effortless move.

Problem one: holding my mobile in an outstretched arm. Whereas I can stretch my arms somewhat (all right, so my elbow doesn’t extend fully, but close enough), there's Problem two.

Problem two: my fingers don’t have the dexterity to operate my phone in that manner. I look in envy at people who type away at 40 wpm or more with their thumbs. My thumbs don’t bend much more than a little, so it’s impossible. Everything a smart phone is designed to do assumes that your thumbs can bend.

This not to say that I can’t operate it. I just hold it differently, primarily use my right middle finger to swipe and text (funny on so many levels) and I use voice control on the camera. I hold the camera in both hands, and once it’s focused, I say ‘smile.’ And as I hear the click of the camera, everyone in my vicinity smile. Which is highly amusing when you’re taking a photo of a building.

But back to selfies.

What about a selfie stick? you ask. Good question. I haven’t had one, mostly because I prefer not being in the shot. I figure my photographs of where I am is enough proof that I was there. That changed this summer. When I was at Queen’s Park to see the Parapan Am games torch arrive I signed up for something and they gave me a free selfie stick in return.

Which I can’t use because of my RA.

Problem three: I don’t have the dexterity to place the phone in the clampy thing.

Problem four: I don’t have the dexterity or strength to press the button on the stick.

And problem five: when attempting to hold a selfie stick with the phone attached, this happens

Gravity is a harsh mistress. (name that show)

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw gravity pulling my phone in the opposite end of where it were supposed to be. It was too heavy for me to hold in the intended position.

So I enrolled The Boy in the project and he did the holding and the pushing of buttons for me. And this was the result

Image courtesy of HealthCentral
I look at it as an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of RA and to maybe encourage someone to invent a selfie stick that can be used by someone with strength and dexterity issues.

See the rest of the quotes from people sharing what you may not know about livingwith a chronic illness.


AlisonH said…
He did a beautiful job. Sometimes it just takes two, and thank goodness for the good ones like him.
Caroline said…
The best intentions gone bad. RA makes many things harder that others don't understand. A friend with MS tells me about going to lunch meetings for MS patients, that were buffet style...
Vanessa Collins said…
Thanks for sharing this, Lene. There must be a way to improve that selfie stick. I really like the picture of you and David, though. It turned out so well! You two look as though you have always been together and that you belong together. Makes me smile.
Renee Huard said…
Cute couple! ❤️❤️
Robin Dorko said…
I love this article! My RA started before biologics, so I have a lot of damage in my hands. It's so frustrating! Thumbs are weak, wrists are very weak. But, thankfully, not much pain. Thanks for your posts!

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