Five years ago we moved to Delaware from Tennessee. We did so with a seven, five and three year old plus two cats and a dog. I knew it would be unpleasant. And as I vomited into a kitty litter box as we drove through the mountains, with the cats peeing in their crates, and the kids crying because they didn’t understand we had brought their dog up the week before and he was waiting for us, I thought to myself never again.
When we arrived, I was determined to have us unpacked within days. We spent our first few nights painting around the clock and unpacking thousands of boxes. Unfortunately, in my haste, I didn’t use box cutters, and at some point tore a ligament in my right thumb.
I have spent the last five years getting monthly injections of cortisone into said thumb. But this fall I was told that the injections were done. Surgery was necessary (well it has been advised for four years but a mother without a right hand doesn’t work, so I put it off). So now I find myself chicken pecking this post, with my right hand in a hard cast resembling a lobster-claw, surrounded by the holiday to-do’s I cannot get done. My elves are on strike and I wanted to share a to-do list with any mother who may be contemplating any surgical procedure that will render her fairly useless over the holidays, or anytime for that matter.
- Call dog trainer. Schedule dogs for a one month vacation at training camp. Dogs who require walking, feeding, and water, and who jump on your hand (which may or may not have pins sticking out of it) will slow down your healing time. Think of this training camp as money saved on surgical repairs and family counseling sessions.
- Three words. Laser. Hair. Removal.
- Call the lice fairy. Explain that you are having hand surgery and will be unable to wash your own hair, much less anyone else’s. Put her on retainer. Because of course hand surgery will coincide with nits.
- Call the plumber. Put him on retainer as well. Because Christmas, no hands, lice… Expect the contents of the upstairs tub to be in the kitchen light fixtures when you wake up.
- Explain to husband and children that while there is a magical Elf named Buttons and a tooth fairy, the laundry fairy does not exist. Explain to husband that while you appreciate his help more than you can express, he should not look at you (after fifteen years of marriage) with his underwear in his hands and say “where does this go?”
- Definitely order upwards of two hundred holiday cards that require intricate bow tying. Hand this pile to husband, kids and babysitter to put together and address. When sitter looks at you and says “my thumb hurts I am done,” try to determine if this is extremely dry humor or a case of misplaced irony.
- Plan on attending several parties requiring that you show up with hundreds of home made cookies. (One of them is your own). Hope you have married a baking saint. (I have).
- Have a dinner plan. “Heating prepared food,” won’t be an option if your left hand and wrist lack the strength to put food in oven. Plan to master mopping up sweet potatoes with one hand, and then book dinner reservations for the rest of the month.
- Call dentist. Schedule extra cleaning post-cast removal. Tooth brushing left handed is harder than you might think.
- Email everyone with whom you may need to communicate with on a frequent basis. Explain that phone calls, not emails, are preferred method of communication for next month, as it takes you twenty minutes to write three words. Expect lengthy emails requesting lengthy email responses from all of these people. Scratch head with left hand and delete.
- Hug the ones you love with your left arm. Marvel that you are lucky enough to have such a small problem to deal with over the holidays. Dress up that cast and smile. Life is short!