You said that you were upset when you were first diagnosed?
Can I ask what you were upset about?
It’s mainly being like different from everybody else. ‘Cos like a lot of people don’t like being different and I’m one of them and I find, I like to like fit in with a specific group of people, but like if I feared like if any of them knew that they wouldn’t wanna like talk to me or be my friend anymore. But that’s not the case so.
Okay so have friends been understanding?
Yeah. They’ve been really great.
How have they learned about arthritis?
Well they basically hear me talking about everything and they’ve just got to listen. And then they listen and then they learn about it and then they say, “Oh what happened with the consultant?” And I tell them and then they understand and then they go, “Oh that’s good,” or “What medication are you on?” and everything. So they’re kind of like, they, they support me quite a bit actually yeah.
Okay, have your friends changed since you had arthritis or are they the same friends?
No. Most of them haven’t, there’s just one or two people that don’t really talk to me now, because like I have this and they hang out in other groups, but I don’t really like care ‘cos it’s their fault, it’s their loss, if they can’t be my friends I can’t be theirs. Simple.
And is that because of the arthritis or is that the kind of normal social school thing?
Because of my arthritis.
Okay why do you think that is?
I don’t know. I think they can’t get to grips with me being like different, just like I couldn’t.
So they stopped hanging around.
Yeah. Their loss.
Absolutely. Does arthritis have an impact on kind of making friends?
No ‘cos I don’t really like tell them until I actually know a bit about them and they know a bit about me normally, as in like what I like to do, where I like to go and what I’m interested in. When I get to know them and they start becoming like my close friend then I sort of like tell them, “Oh yeah, I’ve got arthritis.” And they’re like, “Oh okay, really?” And then like, “Okay.” Yeah. They don’t really mind.
Do they ask what arthritis is?
They ask what it is and then I explain it to them. But we’re normally talking for about an hour maybe an hour and a half.
So it’s quite a long time then.
Let me guess do they say, “My Nan’s got that.”
Do you correct them?
How does it feel to have somebody say that?
Well it kind of makes me laugh a lot ‘cos it’s mainly associated with older people, not like young people but babies get it, young people get it, everybody can get it at some stage in the