When I was originally diagnosed with osteo-blah-blah-blah, the doctor I saw gave me two suggestions: take glucosamine and do the dishes.
“You ladies are lucky,” he said. “Your therapy is part of your work.”
Like washing dishes was automatically a woman’s work! Shuh!
Admittedly, though, it is technically this woman’s work in this house. Yes, I am the Domestic Dish Pig. Sometimes, as I feel like I stand at that friggin’ sink all day, washing dish after cup after splade after saucepan, pausing only to fix another meal for my rabidly hungry children.
The problem about the dishes, of course, is that they cannot be ignored – unlike laundry, which can be left for a couple of days until someone runs of out underpants or I lose one of the neighbour’s kids under one of the huge piles.
Anyway, after my recent weekend in Sydney, I had the worst flare-up of my osteo-blah-blah-blah in my right hand. It was only after a few days of being back home that the terrible truth hit me: I had been in such pain because I hadn’t had to dip my hands in warm soapy water for over 72 hours.
It was like the thing that I hated the most was the thing that saved me. How ironic! Stick that in your stupid song, Alanis. Because it’s actually ironic, unlike “rain on your wedding day”, which is merely unfortunate, or “ten thousand spoons when you just need a knife”, which is some kind of crazy spoon-invasion situation. I say to Alanis, “The spoons are coming! Get out of that damn cab and run, run for your life!”
Anyway, I decided I should see a doctor about my flare-up but couldn’t get an appointment for a few days. (See how smoothly I got out of that spoon-invasion scenario just then?)
While I was waiting for my appointment, I quickly discovered that the best way to forget about arthritic pain was to get a cold sore – it gave me something else to focus on. And the quickest way to stop worrying about the cold sore was to start developing one of those kaleidoscope-vision migraines. And the most effective way to transcend a migraine was to have one of your kids throwing up All. Night. Long.
And then the best cure for the whole damn lot was to drink lots and lots of champagne in honour of Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
On the morning that Julia Gillard took charge of the nation, I came home from the school run to find a message from the Mild-Mannered Lawyer insisting that I drop everything and join her and our friend MGK to drink champagne.
I looked at the time. It was less than hour and a half to my doctor’s appointment. Could I honestly go and talk to my doctor about my ailments after chugging champagne and risk her lecturing me on the perils of drinking before noon?
So I did what any responsible person with a sense of occasion would do: I canceled my doctor’s appointment, forgot about my persistent headache and my cold sore, left the dishes undone and hot-footed it over to the MML’s house, where we drank champagne and watched events unfold on the television for many hours.
And that afternoon, when I picked the kids up from school, I looked into the eyes of my small red-headed daughter and told her “You can do whatever you want to do!” and really truly meant it. It would seem that the position description for a woman’s work just got a whole lot broader.