Lene’s 4 weeks of catastrophes and calamities
Written on October 6, 2013 by Lene Andersen
It all started the weekend before my birthday when I was chewing some red leaf lettuce and lost a filling. I didn’t know it then, but it was the start of a cascade of catastrophes that so far has lasted four weeks.
A few days after half my tooth fell out, my dentist told me I needed a crown. This was good news, because he also told me that I’d already had a root canal on that tooth, so it was essentially half-price! I wasn’t ecstatic about the remaining price tag, but my dentist is okay with payment plans so all in all, it could’ve been worse. And then later in the week on the way home from shopping, my wheelchair stopped working in the middle of the sidewalk.
This wasn’t the first time it had happened and is the reason that my wheelchair’s nickname is Regan, after the girl in The Exorcist. Don’t get me wrong — I love my chair, it gets me through each day and allows me to be independent. Still, six years of random and occasional possession wears a bit thin. It is especially aggravating when the repair techs are scheduled to their ears because one of them is on vacation and you can’t get your chair fixed for a week. Thankfully, the chair decided to still be operational, but I decided to stay inside unless escorted, to prevent a similar incident from happening far from home. The good news is that I got a new motor under warranty, so all in all, it could’ve been worse.
Being stuck at home turned out to not be too bad, either, as it was necessary for me to stick around waiting for various contractors to deal with the leak from my shower. Oh, I didn’t mention the leak? Long-term and fairly catastrophic, at least to my downstairs neighbor’s closet which after being drenched for weeks without anyone noticing the leak, had developed a nasty case of mold. It took over a week to identify the source of the leak and several false starts for a plumber to actually get here and fix it. The good news was that the resulting hole in my wall was fairly small and my closet only had a wet floor, so all in all, it could’ve been worse. Still, I was starting to feel a little put upon. One of my attendants mentioned that in her home country of Mexico, they have a way of dealing with the situation when one thing after the other goes wrong. You rub an egg all over yourself while reciting the Lord’s Prayer, then crack the egg into a glass of water. If it’s very cloudy, it means you got rid of the bad spirits. I’m not terrifically superstitious (knock wood), so I filed it away under the label of “interesting factoids about other countries.”
So, there I was. The leak had gotten fixed and I had a brand-new motor on my wheelchair. Life was good. That is, until The Boy came to stay on the weekend and just as we were going to bed, discovered a burn-y smell coming from the charger to my wheelchair. He quickly unplugged the very hot charger and I limped through the next three days until I could get a new charger. Still, this happened on a night when The Boy was here, so all in all, it could’ve been worse.
It was, however, around this time that I started thinking about the impact stress has on inflammatory arthritis and mentally preparing for the flare that was no doubt to come.
So. New motor installed, new charger acquired and working and I decided to get on with my life. That is, until I came home after grocery shopping one Saturday and found Lucy the Wondercat In the hallway outside my apartment. After letting in a very freaked-out feline, I did some rather freaked-out investigating of how on earth this could have happened. Near as I could tell, my automatic door opener had opened on its own. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, but I haven’t named the door opener yet (if you want to offer a suggestion, give me a shout out in the comments). I turned it off and spent the next three days trapped in my apartment while waiting for a time when the service call wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. I did spend some of that time writing an irate letter to the president of the company about the continuously malfunctioning door, so at least I kept busy. A few days later, the tech came, spent four hours (!) fixing the problem and it’s stayed shut since (knock wood). Despite my frustration, it happened when I’d just popped out for a 10 minute grocery run instead of being gone for hours, so all in all, it could’ve been worse.
And that’s where we’re at today. So far, no other disasters have occurred, but I’m energetically knocking wood as I write that and if you wouldn’t mind, I’d appreciate if you could do the same. I am, not surprisingly, experiencing a bit of a flare and plan to spend the rest of the week sitting still and being good to myself. I am also considering the egg thing, but given my allergy to the things, I’m not sure it would be a good idea.
Do you think egg replacer would work?
Lene is the author of Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain. Her new book is 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain.