I need a fat pen to write also. Additionally, I am on immunosuppressants. Due to being immunosuppressed I actively avoid situations where germs could easily pass to me. A public pen is a perfect example of a germ magnet.
My fingers are visibly mishapen so it's easy to hold up one hand, smile, and say, "thanks for the offer (of the pen) but I need to use my special pen - arthritis." Most respond favorably.
Since you don't have visible problem, you can simply do as you do now. Or you can use those occasions to do a little public awareness teaching. A simple statement said with a smile might relieve the tension/feeling of self-consciousness. I tend to make jokes about
things so I might say, "Arthritis is not just a baby boomer problem!" I bet you can think of something cute and disarming to say.
Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, diffuse connective tissue disease, Sjogren's Syndrome ?