September 15, 2010
My grandmother was crippled by rheumatoid arthritis and, during her final days, she often said things like, "I wish I had a big fat doobie right now."
Another line was, "I would really love to do a line of cocaine right about now."
Oh, and she pulled the "got any heroine on you?" every so often, too.
"Nana, you don't want to do a line of coke," I'd say, incredulous that my granny was saying such things to me—a teenager.
"Oh yes I do. You have no idea how good something like that could make me feel. Maybe morphine. Think you could get me some morphine?"
And on it would go. This banter always made her smile, both because she loved to vex me but also because she really did seem to get carried away by the thought of drugging herself up. In the nursing home, they wouldn't even let the old folks drink.
Perhaps they should have, though.
Researchers in the UK compared the drinking habits of 873 people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to 1004 people without it. They also performed X-rays, blood tests and joint exams. They found that people who drank more frequently had less severe RA than people who didn't drink at all or only drank infrequently. Their joints were less damaged and they had lower levels of inflammation. They also had less joint pain and swelling.
Non-drinkers were also 4 times more likely to get RA than drinkers. Alcohol might help slow the disease by suppressing the immune system. It also might reduce inflammation and numb pain.