Rhia's Autoimmune Arthritic/Systemic Life

Patient Leader

I began my "advocacy story" at the age of 13 years old. Before the internet, even computers, I was a "candy striper" at local hospital in my home town. My next door neighbor was a nurse there, & as I asked her more questions I knew I wanted to be a nurse. With my uniform, filled out paperwork & I began spending every spare moment at the hospital, side by side with her (her name is Dean). She did everything from OB & delivering babies, taking care of them & the Mom's after they were born. She did all of the surgery assistance, cleaning, wrapping the instruments; each type of surgery had its own set of special instruments in a special paper, taped, dated & put into the "autoclave" machine to sterilize them for the next surgery. I helped in all of this. From helping with the newborns and Moms, to preparing all of the instruments, & even getting to watch surgeries, I was right there in the middle of it all. Many of you may not know that back then, most instruments were NOT disposed of. Stainless steel, & 1st sterilizing was washing by hand. Then all of them were dried & wrapped in special paper, taped, dated & put in this machine in the wall. It was almost like a huge dryer. The door was like a big pressure cooker door, & that sterilized them for so many hours, taken out, & placed to be used the next time. I learned a great deal about nursing, medical field, from surgeries, instruments to "bedside manner". This rounded my disposition to be a nurse or go further to be a physician or other spot medical field. Later when things took such a drastic change to "disposable instruments", computers, cell phones & life of technology. The medical field changed forever. My life changed; married at 17, a son born 2 years later. At 25, the "illnesses" began to strike me, my daughter born at 25. I did pass the nursing test & full grant to go to nursing school. I had to work full time, 2 young kids & dreams of nursing faded. My advocacy online I pray gives help & hope that many need.

Location

Ennis, TX

Nominations

Best in Show: Community or Forum Best in Show: Facebook Best Kept Secret Health Activist Hero Lifetime Achievement Award Patient Leader Hero Best in Show: Blog

Rhia has been writing her blog consistently for years. She is an active volunteer in many organization including FIAA, The Arthritis Foundation and others. She consistently goes out of her way to help others with information when it comes to Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, shogren's disease and others illnesses.

Rhia continuously advocates for Lupus and other diseases by using her Facebook page, posting a wealth of information and links for others.

For over a decade, Rhia has advocated for Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and The Arthritis Foundation. She continually updates her blog and Facebook pages, providing information on the newest treatments or other information. She has gone to Washington D.C, talked to Senators and worked to get legislation passed that furthers these causes.

With many hardships happening in life, sudden horrid dementia that took her Mom in 6 months,the funeral,dealing with 2 severely sprained ankles, chronic pain, putting off 2 back surgeries, 2 abscesses she spent 6 MONTHS healing, pain pump replacement surgery, she continues to do her blog, advocacy & all she can to inspire others giving them hope.  — Rhia

Rhia's Autoimmune Arthritic/Systemic Life

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