The arthritic kitchen

First exciting information. I have an MSc certificate. With a hologram.
Second less exciting information. I have early-onset arthritis. In my right hand (I’m right-handed). As I said to one of my friends, this wasn’t in my life script.

There are many good things though. I’m not saying that in a “cancer is a gift” sort of way, but in a “well, if this had to happen” sort of way.

First of all, I realised it was happening while I was designing the kitchen rather than afterwards. This meant that I chose nice big handles for my cupboards, rather than those invisible finger-tip numbers. Note well, kitchen designers: if your hands are swollen and painful, you cannot hold those dainty handles, your pinch grip is not what it used to be.

Secondly, I can still type.

Thirdly, pain-killers are brilliant.

Fourthly, I can find it funny that I’m running my hand sensuously along the cold edges of the cabinets in the supermarket because it eases the pain. Hot bodies, though probably more appealing, are less capable in the anaesthetising department.

I’ve had a functional kitchen for nearly a week now.(yes, that’s terribly terribly exciting). Big handles (remember the big handles), iroko worktops, soft-close shiny white units.

I’m already discovering lots of things I got wrong. The most crucial of these is the distance from the oven to the sink. It’s delightful, there is space in the kitchen, I can have friends in and all that jazz, but if, as I have done, you suddenly realise that you cannot carry a pot of boiling pasta to the sink to drain one-handed because it hurts too much, those extra steps are a total waste of space.

Next week, the exciting limitations of posh kitchen utensils. Send me your incredibly expensive item, and I’ll review it from an ergonomic arthritic perspective. I’ll even show you the hologram on my MSc certificate. If you don’t, I’ll just have to review what I already own, starting, perhaps, with the Samsung fridge.