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I suspect that everyone in rheumatology has a special place in their hearts for lupus patients. Their disease is so cruel, and we have so little to offer them, but the young women (and some men) that I treat keep battling on. The longer I have cared for them, the more I wanted to do for them. Managing their illness alone did not seem like enough.
One of my lupus patients tried to convey to me on several visits just how fatigued and cognitively impaired she would get on her bad days. Finally, to quantify how bad she was feeling, she started telling me how many pajama (PJ) days she was having a week so that I could comprehend how many days she was bedridden due to her illness.
I started using her catch phrase and asking other patients with SLE how many PJ days they were having per week to asses if I should make a medication change of if they were worse or better with my treatment plan.
The Lupus Foundation had been emailing me asking for donations. I contacted them on a call with the Rheumatology Nurses Society and pitched my idea to raise money in my clinic by allowing my staff to wear PJs for a $20 donation to the Lupus Foundation on a designated “PJ Day” during Lupus Awareness Month (May).
Several of my colleagues also expressed interest and voila, PJ day was born. I began thinking – “Who wouldn’t like to wear their PJ’s to work? What if every rheumatology clinic across America supported their SLE patients by spending a day in their PJs and donating money to the foundation?”
If you are thinking to yourself “Nice idea Iris, but I work at Mayo, Hopkins, Baylor or Cleveland Clinic and you have no idea what red tape I would have to go through to wear my PJs to work?” fear not! We have you covered!
The Lupus Foundation thought of that too and sell PJ day long sleeve and short sleeve T-shirts which could easily be paired with a lab coat, scrub bottoms, a skirt, worn under a blazer or with a coordinating tie for example. You could even wear a T-shirt over a fancy dress with an amazing pair of shoes (and if you do please send photos to me!).
So, NO EXCUSES! PJ day is May 2nd, but your office can raise funds anytime in May (especially when the office manager is unaware that the staff has come in wearing PJs.) Last year my little community-based clinic located 30 min away from Flint Michigan raised $1200 for the Lupus Foundation.
I challenge you all. This is for a good cause. And it’s fun. Click here to donate or join the event: http://support.lupus.org/goto/