One Patient's Positive Perspectives

5:00 a.m. – a minor system shock!

On Monday morning, I had the privilege of reporting to jury duty at 7:45 a.m.   It was a minor shock to my system having to get up early enough to leave for the downtown court at 6:30 a.m.  I have fulfilled my civic duty several times before, including twice sitting as a juror on criminal trials.  With all my 30 plus years working in Arizona law offices, I am probably the most unlikely juror, but I have concluded after being selected twice, that I must have the “perfect juror” face that both sides of a case want.

So, Sunday night I headed straight to bed. I enlisted my husband’s help waking up in the wee hours of the morning in time to join the morning commute.  Before hitting the road safely, several things were necessary, due to my CNS lupus involvement.   First, a couple of cups of coffee, medications, a shower, and some breakfast, all early enough to make sure I could “connect the dots” between my brain and my reflexes.  All was well, so I had green light to head out to drive to the court safely.

Civic duty

Jury duty is an important piece of our American judicial system, and I am very willing to do my part.  After thirty years as part of the Arizona legal community, there is a high likelihood that I might know the attorneys or have some familiarity with they type of case being tried.  I always hope that reasonable people (like me?) would sit on a jury if the tables were ever turned, and if I were ever accused of a crime.  I would hope the people in the jury box weighing facts and the law would take it all very  seriously, realizing that a real person’s life, reputation, livelihood and family life may be preserved or crushed by their decision.  Such a fate should belong only to the guilty, and Jury duty should remain a sobering, albeit enlightening experience.


Twice, I have been part of a jury that found someone else guilty of their crimes, and those defendants both went to prison.  My prayers going into jury duty were for good health, the desire for a day without lupus pain, and clarity of mind to serve well as a juror should I be selected.  Those of us with chronic illnesses and disabilities like lupus are entitled to an opportunity to take part in this important civil responsibility.

The trials “went away”

When the judge in a previous jury duty stint found out that I had arthritis from my lupus, he made every effort to make sure that the entire jury had frequent enough breaks during the trial to help accommodate my lupus-related needs.  He periodically asked me if I was still comfortable, if I needed a break, of if I needed to get up and walk around for a few minutes.  I don’t think the rest of the jury minded this one bit, as it helped break up the tedium of our 4 day trial a little when we were given chances to leave the court room and stretch.

This time, after half the day of watching a descending list of pending trials “go away” (a not so technical legal term) I was not selected for a trial, and the remaining jurors were released just before noon hour.  So much for the jury duty adventure, this time.  I made my way back to my end of town, to catch some lunch and then head out for a afternoon’s half-day of work at my office.


Comments on: "Lupus and fulfilling my civic duty" (2)

  1. Adventurer, I love reading your adventures. I haven’t served; my Dad was an attorney and when I answer that, I’m immediately dismissed. I always include that on the little form sent, but it was the attorneys when they have their challenges.

    I was told several times many years ago that I had CNS lupus/lupus cerebritis. Then I moved and in the hunt for a new rheumie, I ran down my history. He promptly told me that if I had CNS lupus, I’d be on medication for the rest of my life. And since I wasn’t, I didn’t have it. How do you know?

    I have lots of faith in the docs who told me, a rheumie and a neurologist, both worked on the same case

    • Dear Annie: Oh, how I grouse when I hear about arrogant doctors, who don’t believe any diagnosis they did not personally make is valid! What did he think your prior rheumy and neuro were, novices committing misdiagnosis and medical malpractice? I would say that if you are still seeing the same rheumy, give that decision more thought. Make sure that if you have any more classic CNS lupus symptoms, such as impaired cognition, confusion, short-term memory deficit, disorientation as to day or date, crossed memories or even eye-hand coordination problems, you seek adequate medical care. When you are in CNS lupus flare, a doctor’s ego doesn’t matter as much as saving your own brain!

      Personally, my doctor has never relied upon MRI’s for the diagnosis of active CNS lupus. He has seen me in the midst of horrible classic CNS lupus flare, and administered large steroid injections.

      He explained to me that the most accurate way to diagnose lupus as the cause of CNS impairment is to administer a massive dose of steroids, and that nothing else known to cause CNS impairment responds as quickly to steroids as does CNS lupus. He said that shortly after the steroids are injected (within hours or by the next day) CNS lupus flare shuts down in response to a large steroid dose. He described this medical fact as a good part of “old fashioned country medicine,” where you can sometimes best diagnose by seeing if a specific treatment works. He is one of the leading rheumatologists in the western U.S., and I trust and respect him immensely. Besides, every time he gives me an injection for it, the CNS symptoms quickly vaporize.

      He is almost always right, but he LISTENS if I question or suggest something different that what he was thinking. He is right to have a large healthy self-esteem and confidence in his diagnosis and treatment recommendations, but his ego doesn’t get in the way of listening to his patients. Would that all doctors and specialists had that dose of openness in their bedside manner.


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