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It’s Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness week, and in celebration my body is having a flare-up. Maybe it’s the weather, or something like that. Maybe it’s the love bird I’m up with all night, who now cheeps for food, simply because he wants to play, or maybe it’s just because life ain’t a box of chocolates.

When I tell people, I have to sleep in the day they say “Oooh, you are so lucky. I’d love to have time to sleep in the day.” Note the inference I’m lazy. Sleeping the day is rubbish. It’s dead time, that’s all it is. It’s two hours I have to filch back out the remaining 24-hours. It’s waking up hot, woozy and guilty. It’s time that could have been spent writing, or cleaning, seeing friends or prepping dinner.

I went to the RA nurse and asked for a steroid jab. She refused me because she says I’ll just overdo it while the drugs mask the inflammation. What a killjoy. Worse thing is she’s right. I’ve not accepted I have a chronic disease. You know when your mum tells you to take a coat with you because you’ll be cold, and you sort of know she's right, but it’s so annoying, you ignore her, go out, freeze and end up begging to put your hands in someone’s pockets to keep warm? That’s how I am with RA.

The children have been quite helpful. The eldest one can make tea now but doesn’t wait for the kettle to boil. I’m too grateful to tell her. The youngest one offers to carry me upstairs. She can’t, but she can tackle me to the floor which hurts. The middle one kicks me out the bed, so she can make it. Turns out overly-tidy people are annoying.

I was sobbing on the kitchen stool the other day. It was all very ‘poor me’. I hoped someone in the family would come and ask what was wrong. When the husband finally came in after a few minutes, he took one look at me, did the biggest sigh of his life, said ‘haven’t you bloody stopped yet’ then made himself a coffee.

 I think he’s still cross about the bird thing, or maybe it was the cat boot sale we did for Father’s Day, or ‘Fart-hers Day’ as my kids spelled it in their cards.  There was no breakfast in bed for him. I had us up and out the house by 7am to get the best spot. We could have chosen to do a car boot sale any day, but me, being me, decided Father’s Day, in the rain was the perfect time. “It’s going to be quiet.” Denny on the door told me. I ignored him. He was right.


The only people who turned up were other ‘punters’ who pay £10 for a pitch, so they can come at 8am and buy up all your stuff to sell on their stall or eBay. People were scrabbling round the boot of my car, pulling stuff out, then offering me fifty-pence for everything. TV’s, Kindles, Nike trainers. It was horrible. The children sold it to them for any price they liked then went and spent the money buying replicas of the crap we already had on the stall. I hid in the car with the bird and the heating on.

It was so tiring I had to come home and have a sleep. I did try and make it up to the husband by watching the first England match with him, but he kicked me out after I said things like “That was a high kick” and “Ooh, hasn’t he got lovely hair?”

I did offer to make him a traditional British dinner to eat whilst swearing at the telly, skidding on his knees, punching the air, rolling up his trousers and slapping his thighs whilst shouting out his own name repeatedly, but he’s on a diet. No carbs, no sugar, no fun. You know when someone is on a diet and you are eating ice-cream at 11.30pm and they give you that slightly smug-look that suggests you should put the spoon down?

I’ve since done research into what one must say when they are watching football. Pre-match you say, ‘come on football’. If England score a goal, say ‘kiss my knee’ ‘three men and a little lady’ or ‘climb on my back’. If there is a free kick or penalty kick, you simply need to keep saying ‘free kick’ or ‘penalty kick’, adjusting the tone of your voice to approval or outrage depending on the situation.

It’s sad when you realise a leather ball and a bunch of boys can bring your husband more joy than you, his loving, long-suffering, loyal wife can. I’d give anything for him to say ‘Ericka’ with as much reverence as he says ‘Harry Kane’.