Having JA can seem a bit like putting together a puzzle. There are lots of different kinds of JA and many types of medicines and treatments. You might be visiting the doctor a lot to figure it all out. In the end, the goal is to help you feel better.
Once you do feel better, you still may have more doctor visits than most kids. The doctor will want to try to keep you feeling better as long as possible. In addition to your rheumatologist, you may see a physical or occupational therapist, an ophthalmologist (eye doctor), and a psychologist or therapist (to help deal with your feelings and stress).
Here’s what the doctor may do at your visits:
• Ask how you’ve been feeling in general
• Ask specifically about where you hurt
• Feel your joints
• Observe your joints in action, by asking you to move around (or by moving them for you)
• Examine your body for lumps
• Examine your eyes
The doctor may order special tests to see if your medications and treatments are working:
• Laboratory tests examine blood and urine (your pee). You will pee in a cup and the health worker will test the urine. Blood is usually taken from your arm using a small needle.
• Imaging tests, like X-rays, bone scans, or MRIs, take pictures of the inside of your body. A health worker will ask you to lie on a table or in a machine that looks like a big tube. You may be given an injection first. This helps you relax and stay still for the test.
• Sometimes you have to go to another building or to the hospital for these test.
You will soon become pretty comfy at the doctor’s office and will know what to expect. If you ever have any questions, speak up. The doctor works for you.