I have started a new chapter in my journey of chronic illness today. It is one that I never expected but I am doing my best to accept. I just received my first batch of meals from an organization that puts together full cooked meals for those who need help.
If you know me or have read much of my blog, you will know that cooking and baking are part of me. I deal with stress by baking a batch of cookies or a cake or pie. I love cooking for large groups of people and even catered for awhile. I learned to cook when I was eight and was decorating cakes and other desserts within a year later. I even went to culinary school at the age of 46!
However, things have changed. My formerly long fingers that could reach an octave and a third on the piano are now curling up from osteoarthritis. I find it hard to hold onto things and drop a lot. My hands and other parts of my body shake with no warning which isn’t good when cutting or holding things. My energy levels much of the time are totally bottomed out and at best I have enough to do one simple task. My pain levels are often above my managing point and my migraines are becoming more frequent.
I love to cook for my husband and I want him to have more than soup or a microwaved burrito after a hard day at work. But sometimes that is all I am able to do. So, in many ways, I am doing this for him. First, he doesn’t have to worry about me overdoing things and second, we both get good meals. And some even come with soup and dessert!
They are all “good home cooking” meals with an average price of $6.50 which is more than reasonable when you consider the price of ingredients, time and energy (human and electric).
I tried the chicken chow mein tonight and Hubby had salmon teriyaki. They were quite tasty. The quantity of food was just right for me and a little small for Hubby, but I added fresh bread and we had our desserts (apple crisp for me and tapioca pudding for him) which finished it off nicely. I took them out of their containers and put them on our plates so it wasn’t too much like TV dinners, LOL!
Do I want to stop cooking? No, that will never happen. Am I okay with bringing in meals for some days when I just can’t cook? I think so, but it will have to grow on me. I am going to wait until we have had the other two meals and I have my two lunches before I decide whether to order for next week or not.
I will never be happy with the fact I am losing certain abilities and I will keep fighting to do as much as I can. But it is good to know that there are other options open. In the past six months I have opened up to two such options – having a care worker come in once a week and now having prepared meals on hand.
My word for the year, “accountability”, fits in here nicely. I am being accountable to my needs over my pride.