My Daily Do: No Plans

February 28th, 20102:08 pm @ Angela Odom


I cannot plan anything. Really, I can’t. Last evening I was supposed to attend a “Girls Night In” dinner party with friends. We were all to bring a dish — one of our favorites — and the plan was to sit, eat, talk, laugh and drink. Needless to say, for me it didn’t happen.

I was so looking forward to the evening too. My plan was to prepare one of my favorite desserts, Gulab Jamun, an Indian dessert I have always wanted to make myself but felt the preparation too hard and required too much time. Since deciding to prepare more food at home instead of buying out, I looked forward to making this tasty little dessert I love so much.

Unfortunately, as it is with most things in my life since my kidneys went south due to lupus, I had to bow out of enjoying “Girls Night In”. Equally unfortunate was having to bow out of some personal tasks I had planned for myself this weekend as well.

It might have been the rain that caused me so much pain. The bones ached, the joints ached, my muscles felt weak and, overall, I just felt like sleeping the entire day. Actually, I’ll be honest, I did sleep most of the day.

It is the not knowing that bugs me. I wish my body would give me a calendar of events and with said calendar I could plan. Alas, no such calendar exists. Perhaps had I known the rain might cause me pain I might have planned better but, then again, the weather man is not always right and rain is not always the cause of my pain.

Take for instance my planned trip to San Francisco last year. When I planned the trip all was right and well with my kidneys. However, on the day of my planned trip the kids were not happy, my legs were swollen and the trip was not as productive as I had hoped. I went anyway only because I pushed myself to go. I have planned similar mini-getaways in the past only to have the plane take off without me, money wasted.

Because I never know, I try not to plan anything that may require my presence. In fact, when asked to attend anything or when invited to events my answer is typically “don’t look for me until you see me.” This ensures if I am able, I will be there. If I am not able, I will not be there.

I’ve had friends — well meaning friends I might add — invite me to events with the words “oh come and I’ll make sure there’s a place for you to sit and enjoy yourself.” The sentiment is beautiful, however, they don’t understand there is something called preparation. I have tried to explain the process of preparation to no avail — this is why I love the spoon theory.

Preparation starts with a question: Do I have enough gas or steam to get me in to the shower, dressing myself, hair and makeup, shoes, and then out of the house? Next, do I have the necessary umph to climb into either of my cars and play with the steering wheel, gas and brake peddles? Yes, that’s right, driving — something I once took for granted — can be a tedious act for sure and I no longer take it for granted.

Though the comfy chair is something nice to look forward to once I arrive, getting there is always the question and often the problem. Yesterday was one of those days when getting there was the problem. I could do nothing more than sleep, do a little something, stop, sleep more, do a little of something else and sit or sleep more. It was a horrible day.

That said, I have always believed when handed a lemon, make lemonade. I knew the planned dinner party was out of the question for me yesterday because of the pain. Instead, I focused what energy I had for redoing my kitchen as best I could.

To qualify my pain yesterday, on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, my pain passed 10 and soared to the heights of something near 110. Yes, that bad. Every part of my body ached. I have hydrocodone (Vicodin) but I don’t believe in taking the stuff. Instead, being a hardass, I suffered through my pain enduring every bit of it. My plans for the kitchen was to remove all of the useless crap I had in there and replace it with crap I can really use. I won’t bore you with what the crap was exactly but I will say this, a few years ago when I purchased the crap it was cute. Today, I’m older with health issues and the crap quickly became cute but not functional.

Yesterday, my plan was to make a run to Bed, Bath & Beyond for a quick shopping spree and return with more functional crap and cooking utensils. Since my diagnosis with lupus nephritis I have found my kitchen was not conducive for actual cooking. Again, cute but not functional. Eating out is not conducive to good health either which meant, in spite of my pain, this had to be done.

I also wanted to clear out cabinets, move items, sort my cabinets for easy access and create a huge space for preparing food. In spite of the pain and agony I was only able to make a dent in the project. On a good day this job would have taken me a good three hours to do. Unfortunately, it took me an entire day to make a dent.

I did make it to Bed, Bath & Beyond, I was able to clear space for cooking, I was able to sort some, not all, of my cabinets and I was able to replace some of the useless crap in my kitchen. In between completing some of these tasks I took naps, lots of naps. At midnight, I threw in the towel and quit. As a reward for giving it a good go, I made a pizza.

I have always wanted to make a pizza at home with fresh veggies and I did it. I am grateful Trader Joe’s has pre-made pizza dough because my fingers were in no shape for kneading dough. Though I was too hurt and too tired to actually enjoy my homemade pizza, I will say it was delicious.

The joy of making a pizza with fresh tomatoes, veggies and cheese without the added salt often found in store bought pizzas or those ordered out was a joy in and of itself. Smelling the scent of dough cooking in the oven was equally joyous. Oh the joy of cooking with all natural ingredients. Store bought is nice but something has to be said about cooking it yourself in spite of the time required to do so. In the end, though I was too tired to actually feast on my pizza, it was the best pizza I have had in years.

Ahh, the best laid plans. Though I ended up bowing out of the dinner party last night, I did accomplish something for myself that was very personal. My kitchen is now somewhat functional. I could not complete the task as I had hoped but, for what it’s worth, it is at least at a place where I can cook good, wholesome food and that’s important.

I did not make my Gulab Jamun as planned either. To prepare these tasty treats that are good to eat I needed to have hands capable of both kneading dough and rolling the dough to make the balls. Perhaps I’ll try again today.

As an admitted hardass, I will push through pain and fatigue as best I can to get what I need done. A three-hour project took me from 6:00 a.m. to midnight to almost finish. It ain’t done yet. In the end, though it was not easy, I do have a sense of accomplishment in that I was not defeated. I did something. Maybe it was not all that I had hoped for but it was something and I can’t get mad at myself for that.

I did not make it to the dinner party last night but perhaps I’ll make it next month and we’ll have a good time. If not next month, then perhaps the month after. Thankfully, I have friends who understand.

So, my daily do is this: I have no plans. I really cannot make plans and with that, don’t look for me ’til you see me. In the meantime, I’m working in or around my house as best I can.