It could always be worse...

It Could Always be Worse, by Margot Zemach, is a funny children's book about a man who lived in a little hut with his wife and six children. His house was so crowded and his children and wife were so quarrelsome that this poor man sought the help of his rabbi, who advised him over the course of several visits to move his cow, his goats, his chickens, and his mother-in-law into the house. Each time the harried man came to the rabbi complaining of the noise, the smell, the fights, and the cramped quarters, the rabbi would say, "oh, it could always be worse!" and order him to add another member to his menagerie. Finally the rabbi lets the poor man off the hook and tells him to move the animals out and send his mother-in-law packing. The man comes back to the rabbi, happy and relaxed, bragging about how clean, quiet, and spacious his house is now that it's just him, the wife, and the six kids. The rabbi was right - things could always be worse no matter how bad the man's circumstances were at the time, and the man learned to appreciate the good things he had from the start.

So when I woke up this morning at 5 am with my back stiff and aching, I told myself it could always be worse. I worked on stretching and limbering up for the next two hours and finally pried myself out of bed. I took 750 mg of Relafen. I limped around the house for a while, got the kids up and onto the bus, then got ready for work. I made it in to work late - but it could always be worse.

The day went pretty well. I was focused and accomplished a lot before the Relafen wore off around 2 pm. The stiffness in my back didn't return, but both hip-joints were burning, my right knee swelled and ached and my left ankle matched it, just for fun. I hobbled to my Jeep, fished out my cane, and went on with the day. It could always be worse.

By the time I got back home, all the joints in both feet and both hands were aching and swollen. My right elbow, left shoulder, and my neck decided to join in the fun because hey - why not, right? I cleaned house and cooked supper with my cane in my right hand the whole time because I couldn't really move well without it. I'm in a lot of pain right now - sitting hurts, lying down hurts, typing hurts, thinking hurts. But that's ok. It could always be worse.

I'm not being sarcastic. I'm serious. I could have been unable to get out of bed this morning. Might not have been able to drive. It is entirely possible that I could have been unable to work - it's happened before. And when the meds wore off and I was limping and in pain, at least with the cane I was able to keep walking. When I got home, it was hard to clean house and cook while hobbling around, but I was able to get it done. There have been plenty of nights lately when I tell the girls to eat cereal and I just go to bed because keeping my eyes open for ten more minutes is impossible, never mind cleaning or cooking or doing anything constructive. Now I'm sitting on the sofa, typing, watching the knuckles on my left hand swell up. Sure, it hurts. But I'm here, and I'm doing what I want to do, for the most part. It could always be worse.


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