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Posts Tagged ‘osteoarthritis’

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.

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Last Saturday, my friend Uncle B lost his Quiz Night virginity. In the lead up, he was understandably very excited.

“Obviously, film is my strongest category,” he told one of his work mates the day beforehand. “But I like to think I have a broad grasp of general knowledge… except for maybe history, politics… sport… oh, and literature.”

“So, just films then?” his work friend remarked.

“Yes, just films,” he admitted.

Still, Uncle B was lucky on the night that there was a whole section devoted to films – which our table got a perfect score for. That’s ten-out-of-ten, people!

However, on reflection, there was not a single literary question – which is my personal quiz night superpower. Most certainly, there was not a single question on feminist performance theory in the 1980s – the topic of my honours dissertation. Sheesh! (That sheesh was directed at the lack of 80s feminist performance theory questions but could equally be applied to the fact I once wrote twelve thousand words on the topic.)

And since at least three of our party were self-professed experts in the area of Politics and World Events, it was disappointing that the only vaguely related question was a close-up of [Australian Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott’s lycra-clad cock in a ‘Guess the famous person’ section. (For our sins, we got the question right).

Anyway, no wonder our team came second. It’s clear they just asked us the wrong questions. Yeah, that must be it.

Of course, the Mild-Mannered Lawyer tried to blame our loss on my “slow writing”, which, quite frankly, I found discriminatory. For reasons unknown, the person designated to write down the answers in the ‘Speed Round’ was the one person at the table with osteoarthritis. OSTEOARTHRITIS, PEOPLE! And the fact that I wrote down ‘Flemington’ instead of ‘Lamington’ was neither here nor there and most certainly not alcohol-related. Anyone – even the most sober person in the world – could make that mistake. Anyone. I dare the MML to go up to ten random people on the street and ask them to write ‘Lamington’ and I’ll guarantee that at least half will write ‘Flemington’. And by ‘half’, I mean ‘one’. And by ‘one’, I mean ‘me’. Especially if I’m completely rat-arsed.

In any case, it should be stated for the record that I wrote down 12 answers while the MML, who, having commandeered someone else’s pen so she could compile an alternate list, wrote down a grand total of ZERO. That’s possibly because she was too busy shouting “Flemington!” at me.

Anyway, there was a point when someone looked around our table and realised, of our nine team mates, only Uncle B and KT actually had a child at the kindergarten which the quiz night was raising funds for. And even then, they were both eleventh hour additions to our table.

“Uh, so why are we here?” someone asked the MML, who had arranged the whole evening.

I think her (drunken) reply was something along the lines of “QUIZZZZZZZZZZ NIGGGHHHHHHHHHHT!” which, to be quite honest, still sounded a lot like “Flemington” to me.

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Okay, okay, so it turns out I have osteoarthritis. But please don’t ask me anything about it because I honestly don’t remember anything about my diagnosis other than my doctor saying:

“Looks like you’re getting osteoarthritis… blah blah blah blah… of course it’s easily confused with osteoporosis… blah blah blah… will probably spread across all of your knuckles in both your hands over time… blah blah blah… you could try glucosamine but its success is largely anectodal… blah blah blah… Dennis Lillee… blah blah blah… debilitating pain.”

Now you might thing that many of the “blah blah blah” bits were simply spent watching Mr Justice doing his now-famous chicken dance in the background or sliding off his chair or even doing the chicken dance while sliding off his chair. Try it: it’s not as easy as it sounds.

But quite frankly, I would have been none the wiser even without my darling son’s chicken-dance antics. You see, many years ago in Japan, I developed the sanity-saving ability to go on mini-breaks of the mind while some random stranger took three minutes to spit out the single sentence “Can I please practice my English together with you?”. Unfortunately since that happy time, the mini-breaks have become increasingly involuntary – a good thing for when generating material for my blog but not for when trying to absorb important information.

For example, a friend can start by telling me “Oh my god, NDM, I was just at the supermarket…” and before I know it, I’m off! Away! With the fairies! And returning just in time to hear them conclude “… and they say they probably won’t press charges.” It’s very hard to ask them why when, from all outward appearances, I really looked like I’d  been listening quite intently.

So the terrible truth is that while my doctor was talking, I was looking at Mr Justice and wondering if it was Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius or Chicken Little where all the grown-ups were made to wear mind-control headsets and do the chicken dance and, if I were to be tied to a chair and forced to watch either film in perpetuity, which one would be the less likely to induce chronic psychosomatic diahrea.

And after I returned from this little mini-break to find the diagnosis was over, I decided to try and ask my doctor some carefully worded questions to find out what I’d missed.

“So… uh… do I have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis?” I asked, tentatively.

“Osteoarthritis,” he said, looking at me like I was a moron.

“Um… so… er…. will I be all hunched over and gnarled by the time I’m 40?” I asked (the important question).

The Doctor had a quick look at my DOB on the screen in front of him.

“Not by 40, you won’t.” the Doctor said and got up to show me (and my chicken-dancing son) the door.

“Great!” I thought to myself, as I walked out into the reception area. “I’ll be all gnarled and hunched over by the time I’m 45! And I’ll probably be chair-bound and they’ll force me to watch Jimmy Neutron or Chicken Little and I won’t even be able to make it to the toilet by myself when the diahrrea hits!”

But when I got home, my husband came up with a solution: we move to the coast and start hanging out with surfers because in their culture “gnarly” is a compliment and I’ll be so gnarled that, among their people, I’ll be considered a God.

Yep, them there’s Comedy Gold, husband dear. And why on earth I managed to stay focused and listen to that little pearl of wisdom in its entirety but not my actual diagnosis by a trained physician, I’ll never ever know.

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