I don’t DO cooking. I used to… a bit, but then MS came along and gave me the joyous excuse not to do it. I am in the very fortunate position of having a partner who enjoys cooking, at least I think he does, in any case he does it. We seem to have fallen into a routine whereby he makes the dinner while I drink the wine. It’s not a bad routine, in fact, it’s a bloomin’ good one as far as I am concerned (!) But, when that routine is broken, I totally freak-out.
I should probably be fair to myself here and explain that it is not (only) through sheer laziness that I don’t cook, it is genuinely painful and physically difficult for me to do so. Also, I swear the stress of having to cook makes my symptoms 10 times worse!
This week I found myself in charge of feeding the children TWICE – on consecutive evenings, while my busy teacher-husband stayed at work to mark exams. Stubborn as ever, I refused help from my parents, who already help way more than they should. The first night wasn’t too bad, I simply bundled the kids into the car and hit the drive-thru – phew! Day 2, however, was a whole different story…
The day had already been a ridiculous one. I had been to the hospital for my infusion, accompanied my daughter to her drama class, visited a school & pretended to be an author while I read the pupils my own stories and completed the school run, and I still had a nurse appointment to attend at the surgery later on. I was on my knees by the time my children started making hungry sounds. ‘Would it really be that bad if I gave them fast-food 2 days running?’ I thought to myself. No, I couldn’t do that. Could I…? No. So, I whipped out the saucepans, boiled some water, and chucked in some pasta. Grabbing a jar of sauce, I sat down and tried to open it. The lid wouldn’t budge. Putting all my strength into it, which, admittedly, wasn’t very much at this point, I squeezed the lid as hard as I could and turned and turned and turned – nothing. The pasta was starting to look over-cooked and soggy and so, abandoning the jar of sauce, I drained the pasta and divided it onto 3 plates. It looked so bland! I sprinkled on some salt. I couldn’t serve this to my children! How about a bit of cheese? Oh man, what a mess! What kind of mother am I?!
My little girl could see that I was struggling and very sweetly opened the cupboard and pulled out a tin of baked beans, “Don’t worry, Mummy, we can have beans!” Right, pull yourself together, beans on toast – I’ll do beans on toast instead – how hard can THAT be?! Seriously, I don’t even think I can blame the MS for the fact that I burnt the toast – that was all me. But, you know what? My children, bless their little cotton socks, ate it all up and didn’t mutter a single word of complaint.
Later that evening I was sitting in the GP surgery at the end of my non-MS related appointment and, just as I was getting up to leave, the nurse said, “Are you alright? You look like you’re in pain.” Surprisingly, no-one has ever said that to me before – I guess the pain of making beans on toast must have been written all over my face!