Archive for February, 2016

Design Thinking: Or Why Life with RA Forces You to be Creative

Design Thinking:

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Last night I went to a talk on Design Thinking. This is marketing/business jargon for approaching product design from a user’s point of view. The speaker encouraged everyone to go out and talk to their end-users so that they could design with empathy.

As an example, she talked about a new pill bottle that her company helped design. (Not sure what the product is, otherwise I’d post it.)

Her colleague went out and interviewed some older patients in their homes. Noticing an older woman’s severely arthritic hands, he asked her whether she had any trouble taking her medications at home. She replied that she had no problems at all.

He asked her to walk her through her medication routine, so she led him to her kitchen and showed him the electric meat slicer she used to open her pill bottles.

Yes, you read that right. She used this

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to open these

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But the thing is, from her perspective – her “new normal” – she was doing just fine.

The product designer disagreed and apparently designed pill bottles that were easier to open.

This is a great little anecdote to encourage product designers to actually meet their intended product users, but that’s not really what I got out of it. I found this woman pretty damn inspiring. Here she is, with severe arthritis, and she’s making it work with the tools she has. She’s not whining. From her point of view, she’s just fine.

Design Thinking & RA:

This morning I was woken up by my right wrist, which was so stiff and painful I couldn’t move it. So I drag myself out of bed, take a really long, hot shower, and wait for my wrist to feel a bit better. No luck.

I dig out my wrist brace and attempt to brush my hair/teeth and apply make-up left-handed. Fun!

Then I go to work and try to operate my mouse with my left hand.

Now, I’m not as bad-ass as the woman in the story above. If anyone asked me if I was having trouble today, I’m pretty sure I would be a flood of complaints. But with diseases like RA, you’re forced to roll with the punches and get creative in how to compensate.

I’m happy to say that I went for a jog in the sun this afternoon and though still painful, my wrist is now doing a bit better (I’m typing this after all!).

Design Thinking as applied to life with RA:

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Have You Tried Fish Oil?

I live in a city that embraces naturopaths, acupuncture and supplements. Anytime I tell anyone I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, they immediately follow with diet or supplement advice.

Fish oil cures that, right? MSM eliminates symptoms. Add turmeric!

This advice is not only coming from the uneducated. I’ve read books and studies recommending some supplements, including fish oil, from reputable sources.

When I was first diagnosed, I heeded this advice. It got to a point where I was taking a handful of pills morning and night.

Finally, my body had enough, which it communicated with a gag reflex I started getting just by seeing the vitamins in my hand. I’m currently listening to my body and taking just one supplement each day – alternating calcium/vitamin D with a hair, skin and nails formula (does wonders for my methotrexate-induced hair loss and weak nails!).

Last night, I finally got around to watching Frontline’s Supplements and Safety documentary.

It’s an important watch for anyone who adds supplements to their daily regimen.

I won’t pretend to be a doctor and offer medical advice. Some people get great results from supplements. Just please add them to your diet with caution and awareness that the industry is not regulated!

 

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