I Think I Can
When it comes to your JA, do you step back and let your parents take over? Let’s face it, the more they do, the less you have to worry about. Leaving it all up to them can be comforting, too.
But it can also be frustrating. Does it ever seem like you’re always being told what to do? Take your medicine! Do your exercises! Get ready for your doctor appointment! Nag, nag, nag!
You can’t get around the fact that those things have to be done. But taking control can make you feel better about everything. Ready to learn more about handling your own health care? If you’re frustrated, the answer has to be yes. It’s time to speed up the transitioning process.
Step 1: Be direct.
Are there some specifics you’d like to change about how things are going? If so, speak up to let your parents know and get their support. “I want to see my doctor alone for part of the visit.” “I’d like to start taking my medications myself.” “Please don’t schedule an appointment on Tuesday—I’ve got art club on Tuesdays.”
Speaking up is one way to be more involved in your own medical care.
You may not always get you what you want. But in those cases, you can always move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Prove yourself.
Suppose you want to start taking your medicine by yourself. And your parents have said, “No way!” Do what you can to show you can handle the responsibility. Obviously, you don’t want to just go ahead and take your own medications. Instead, get more involved in the process. Make a chart listing medications, dosages and when you need to take them. Help keep track of your medicine in a weekly pill box. Watch closely or help prepare your injections.
You can also show you’re responsible by doing things that have nothing to do with JA. Finish homework before it’s due. Help around the house. Spend your money wisely. (Parents watch everything!) It may not be easy, but remember your goal: You’re trying to prove yourself. If you like to win, that will help you rise to the challenge.
Step 3: Relax!
Transitioning takes time. And it isn’t a process that always moves forward. It goes backwards, too. You will make mistakes. You could get busy and forget your morning pills. Or you may get lazy and skip your range-of-motion exercises. Sometimes, you might feel overwhelmed. Phoning in a prescription refill may seem fun when you get an automated system. But you might feel nervous when you have to talk to a real, live person.
At times, you might ask your parents for less responsibility. Or, your parents or doctors might make that decision for you. Even if it seems like you’re going backwards, you’re still transitioning. This process doesn’t end overnight. It takes years till you’re grown up and ready to handle your own healthcare.