I broke another doggone dish. I was emptying the dishwasher and I'm not exactly sure how it happened. One minute the plate was in my hand and the next it was in pieces on the floor. Many, many pieces, scattered from one end of the kitchen to the other. You know how that goes. Tile floors are unforgiving. No dish stands a chance against a tile floor.
My dratted hands are the culprit. I've never had pretty hands, but they were at least strong and capable. Nowadays I tend to drop things. We are down to only 5 of the small plates, 4 bowls and 7 of the larger plates. Originially there were 8 of each. Sometimes they get dropped in the sink or on the countertop but usually it's the floor. Smashola! Maybe I need to invest in something sturdier, like plastic or concrete.
I've always been clumsy so that part isn't new. But it definitely gotten worse with the advent of arthritis in my life. And you know, it isn't as if nobody prepared me. The jokes, the stories, the not so subtle inferences that getting older was no picnic. We've all heard them. But I was sure that I would be different. I would stay strong and healthy, I would take care of myself, keep my mind sharp and my knowledge base current. And above all, I would keep a good attitude.
And I've done, or at least tried to do, all of those things. But none of them prevented the one thing that seems to make me feel older than everything else combined. Arthritis. My arch nemesis!
It started maybe ten years ago. But at first y'know, it's not really a big deal. Some minor discomfort in one finger joint or another. And over time, I have kind of gotten used to it. Even as the discomfort became worse and the inconveniences began to pile up, it was a slow descent into this issue and so I equally slowly adjusted to it and didn't give it a lot of thought. I just accomodated the changes and tried to ignore how it felt.
And then I realized one day not long ago, that we only had 5 small plates left and that the reason is because I have accidentally dropped and broken them and damn that kind of ticks me off. I mentioned it to my regular doc at my last visit. He gave it a lot of thought, asked me a zillion or so questions and then sent me to have x-rays taken. The result of which was that, "the degradation is far worse than suspected" and I was next ordered to have blood tests done.
Okay. Off I went. The result of those was a referral to a specialist. The suspicion here is that I have not osteo-arthritis which is what I was originally told but perhaps I have rheumatoid arthritis instead. So I made the appointment. And as is always the case with specialists, there is a ton of paperwork to be filled out and appointments are booked out months.
It took a bit more than a half hour to fill out the paperwork. It was very thorough. In one section they asked some very specific questions about my level of ability. Things like, can I tie my shows, button my clothes, dress myself, wash myself. The answers are yes, yes, yes and hell yes. So it's obvious that my problems are very small compared to a lot of people. Still there are things I can no longer do. Those questions are not on the forms but they are things that are important to me.
For instance, I can no longer:
1) Play violin. Forget proper form. Forget discomfort. Even if I could find a way to hold the bow with my right hand without dropping it a dozen times, the fingers of my left hand, which are the ones that hold down the strings no longer work properly. Two of those fingers do not even touch the strings. They are sticking out in all sorts of wierd, wrong directions none of which are in the direction of the neck of the instrument. Bizarre.
2) Play the guitar. Same basic reason, but chords as opposed to individual notes and of course no bow. Probably could twiddle a few things out badly but, dang.
3) Sign. My youngest daughter-in-law who is deaf, has taught me a little bit of sign language. While I understand at least some of what she signs to me (occasionally just to keep me in practice) I can no longer sign back. My fingers just cannot make the proper shapes anymore. It's a communication problem.
4) Make a fist. No matter how much somebody may deserve being punched, I cannot be the puncher. My hands no longer can make a fist.
5) Snap my fingers. You'd be surprised how often this comes up.
Then there are the things that I can do, it just takes me a little longer and maybe it's not as pretty as when other people do it. Things like:
1) Working a jewelry clasp. There have been days when I decline to wear a necklace or bracelet. Not because I don't want to wear it, but because I have tried and failed multiple times to work the clasp and I got frustrated and quit trying rather than continue trying and eventually get it. Usually I stick with it until it's done, but occasionally.....
2) Putting a fitted sheet on the bed. Takes a little longer and involves my right knee and both hands. But I get it done every damned time! yay me!
3) Playing piano. Not so pretty but I keep playing. Almost every day. Papa Hayden is rolling over in his grave, or at least he is twitching pretty good every time I have the audacity to tickle the ivories, but I'm still at the keyboard working at it. I used to say I was a pianist. Now I just say that I play the piano. Some days, I sort of play the piano.
4) Shake hands. It's not that I cannot, it's that most people squeeze too hard. Ouchie. I avoid it when I can and I'm gracious about it when I cannot. But I dread the hearty handshake. And usually I can tell when it's going to happen before it does which is good because then I can have just a pleasant expression on my face and a nice howdy do on my lips rather than the grimace and ouchie that I'm thinking.
5) Decorating Baked Goods. I can still do it. They just don't come out quite as pretty as I'd like and the more things I have to decorate, the less prettier they become. Still taste yummy though.
Anyway. I don't mean to be all whiny about this. It is what it is. I have no idea what this specialist is going to say or even if there is anything that can be done. But I suppose at least I will know after the appointment (which isn't until next month). And meanwhile, I will keep on keeping on.
In a weird way, it's all good. I get a great sense of satisfaction when there is something that is very hard for me to do anymore and I figure out a way to do it anyway. HAH!
Eventually I will have broken enough dishes to warrant buying new ones and I will figure work-arounds for everything else. I may not be able to do everything the way I used to, but I'm very creative and I will find a different way.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.