head in fog being filtered out with a coffee filter

More Arthritis F-Words: Fog and Filter

Arthritis and I have been together for 19 years. All attempts at divorce have failed. Arthr didn't care when I tried to starve him out with diet, drive him out with exercise, or ignore him away with denial. He's just here, reaching into the middle of my life with burning hot claws of inflammation, pain, fatigue, and generalized disruption. Adaptive self-care and treatments help me to live better, but  Arthr is always lurking around.

I'm from Michigan, a place (in)famous for holding up our right hands as folksy maps, Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance, and having an actual gigantic tire visible from I-94, on the way to Metro Airport. I'll admit to asking a car service man or two if we can "see The Tire" on the way to the terminal. Who can resist such a big tire? Maybe you had to be there?Michigan also has the longest freshwater coastline in the country, which comes with lots of lighthouses.


Lighthouses are popular household kitsch and religious symbols, but sailors rely on their lights and fog horns to stay safe from hazards hidden under the water. Did you join me in the hope that every lighthouse has its own team of Ricola-style alphorn players? Sadly, it's just a cold and impersonal sensor. There are zero lederhosen or fancy hats involved. But wouldn't it be great to have a less loud, but equally helpful horn when our own fog rolls in?

Brain fog is a patient-generated term for difficulty thinking clearly. It can happen alone or with flares and fatigue. Fog is mentioned as a vexing symptom of countless medical conditions. It's causes vary widely. Researchers continue to pursue definitive answers about what's happening and what might be done.

My fog usually manifests as flightiness, forgetfulness, getting stuck, or zoning out. This means that it's time to prioritize essential tasks and rest. Routine based self-care is especially helpful in these situations by limiting decision fatigue.

If this is a new or worsening symptom please contact your health care provider and limit any dangerous activities until things improve.


Finding slime growing in the tank of my carefully maintained coffee machine put me onto pour-over. I just pop a filter into my cone, add coffee, set it on my mug, drench with molten water, enjoy my joe, clean the cone, and compost the grounds. Filtering is just as important to arthritis life. The world is full of medical treatments, tips, and lifestyle interventions that somebody thinks is right for you. You're under no obligation to hear them out or try anything. The American College of Rheumatology's website can patients filter out the riff-raff. Their clinical practice guidelines offer crucial insights into the most current understanding of how to diagnose and manage our illnesses. They're updated as new research bears fruit. The delete button is your filter when your cousin's hairdresser's tarot reader is pushing a medical conspiracy theory.

What kind of filters help you stay out of the fog and slime?

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