In September 2010 I had no choice but to retire from my job in Sheltered Housing, because Rheumatoid Arthritis made it too difficult to carry on. In many ways it was a great relief to know that in future if I woke up feeling particularly poorly I could simply take my time to get going and have a relaxing day. On the other hand come the day it was a shock to think…..no more work……..I mean you work all your life, it’s what you do, it’s as regular as breathing, it’s who you are…………so if I am no longer a Senior Scheme Manager ….who am I ?
Well some days I am the ‘wonky donkey’ who drags herself very slowly to the bathroom creaking louder than the floorboards all the way and stands under a hot shower until the warmth penetrates and the joints start to loosen up. If I can I get dressed, if I can’t it’s clean jimmy jambo’s and dressing gown. On these days most household tasks will be out of the question, with luck I will be able to manage my little travel kettle and have a cuppa, maybe breakfast if not, it’s biscuits. Then I get into the recliner and rest, most likely sleep the day away, because these flare ups bring with them such fatigue. When I first got this wretched disease I was so angry, but a young woman I met had been diagnosed in her twenties, and I thought well I am very fortunate to have been well enough to have a life, bring up my children and have a fulfilling career in housing. So, much as I hate those days, I have to tell myself it will pass so just do what you can until it’s over.
I am not yet into remission with my RA so on other days I am just ‘wonky’ and the freedom of waking, rolling over, stretching (gently!) and thinking OK what you gonna do today then, is absolute bliss. I can meet my friends for coffee, I can browse the shops, I go for regular manicure and pedicure. I can go away whenever I feel like it, don’t have to ask for leave. I can surf the net, read books, e-mail friends even my relo’s in Oz! Who would have thought that me the one who still can’t work the video would go global !! In an attempt to get a mention in the Guiness book of records I have now seen every episode of Murder she wrote, and am on the list to join The University of the Third Age or U3 as we rather more perky pensioners prefer to call it! I visit sheltered housing schemes and clubs selling greetings cards which provides a service for tenants and a nice little hobby for me.
I watch all the cooking programmes especially Jamie Olivers 30 minute meals so easy, so tasty,so………..I had the family to dinner last Sunday, they accept now that I still like to cook for them but it has to be what I can manage, mostly pre-prepared or frozen, however I digress. The chicken and roastie’s were in the oven, the veggies waiting to go on, so I took a short breather and switched on to Jamie, then the brood arrived. Greeted and disrobed my son said
‘what you watching mum’
‘Jamie, luv, he’s doing this fried chicken and it smells gorgeous’
He looked at me, then his wife, then back to me at just the same time as a little light flickered into neon bulb and I said
‘that’s my chicken I can smell isn’t it, not Jamie’s!’
I ask again.....who am I?