Time To Accommodate My Body, Not Make It Worse

About 2 weeks before Christmas, the dishwasher broke. At the time, we were already pushing our budgetary boundaries, so we decided we could get it fixed in early January. A few days before Christmas, my car battery went kaput and another $100 walked out the door. A few days after Christmas, my mom’s car battery also tanked — and hers we have to pay someone else to install, because some genius at Chrysler saw nothing wrong with situating the Seabring’s battery so that you literally have to remove a tire to get to it. Then sis’ tire blew, AND her spare turned out to have a seal problem because it popped off a few minutes after she took off on it. Sounds like I’m making it all up, doesn’t it? Well we’ve got a pile of receipts — and some Speed Perks points coming from Advanced Auto — that say otherwise.

So obviously, the dishwasher is still broken.

When we were house shopping, the lack of a dishwasher in other potentials selections was a deal-breaker for me. We’d grown up mostly in apartment complexes, always with dishwashers. Then we’d moved to our first house, and spent 7 years without one — I determined that I never wanted to deal with that crap again. That it had both a dishwasher and bathrooms on the 1st and 2nd floors are the two primary reasons we went with this house, and gave up a 2.5 car garage. I traded not having to scrape my car in the winter for not having to hand wash dishes.

And I’d do it again. As much as I hate winter car maintenance it’s nothing like I hate doing dishes by hand — and doing it in a tiny kitchen that has no real counter space is even more of a headache. Obviously with having had arthritis, bursitis and fibromyalgia since I was a teenager doing dishes by hand has always been really rough on my back, neck, feet, hips, etc.. But while it would leave me hurting, I could get through it okay. Mostly it was just a supremely annoying chore.

Now after 12 years of only sporadically hand washing large or delicate dishes, it turns out my body is not even okay doing one sink full of dishes, without serious pain setting in — and lasting for hours. The first few times I had to do a couple of sinks worth, I just stood there as long as it took to finish, mostly leaning my elbows on the edge of the sink for the entire time, or occasionally pausing a moment to lean against the counter. I was in agony for hours afterwards. The last time I did dishes, I opted to take a couple of short breaks between sink loads. It helped, but it didn’t really make a difference to my pain levels.

Today I decided that it was time to stop fighting a losing battle against the pain and to cut my body a little slack. Every time I started to really hurt bad, I took a break. Sometimes it was 10 minutes on, 5 minutes off. Sometimes was 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off. I took at least 5 breaks, and doing roughly 3 sinks worth of dishes took me nearly 2.

I admit, that 2 hour thing pisses me off. It’s an annoying enough chore without taking 1/12th of my day to complete it. But at the same time, less pain is never a bad thing. And not only was I in less pain during, just an couple of hours later, I am back to my normal baseline — which lately is around a 7.

It’s weird to think I’ve spent so many years punishing my body simply by refusing to yield to it. I may only be 41 years old, but it’s time to accept that for me that means sitting down when it’s too much, riding the electric carts at the store when I’m having a bad day or week, not forcing myself to exercise outside of the water, and asking people with longer legs to slow down so I can keep up without speed-walking. It’s time to accept that I have disabilities and that they need to be given some accommodation, not just from other people, but also from me.