There is no getting around the fact that having Rheumatoid Arthritis, especially when you have so much of your life ahead of you, sucks big time. That's pretty obvious. But, if you have to have it, you may as well get some fun things out of it when you can.
For instance, when I told my family about my diagnosis, once they got past the initial shock and sadness, my mother and sister immediately went to work planning a trip for the two of them to come to New York City the weekend after I visited my rheumatologist for the first time. And this would not be just any trip, my mother informed me. This would be a fabulous, extravagant, it-sucks-you're-sick-but-let's-make-the- best-of-it kind of trip. (It's no mystery who I inherited my indulgent streak from.)
If you ever have someone close to you get diagnosed with a chronic disease, and you don't know what to do for them, and you have good credit, then may I suggest the following:
My mother and sister arrived safely, one from Virginia, one from San Francisco, just in time for a quick breakfast before our facial appointments at Bliss. Not only is it a kickass spa, but they have sinful brownies to snack on while you are waiting for your treatment. Or after. Or both. (I'll give you one guess what I chose.) After our facials, we checked into this swanky hotel and felt sufficiently smug, then had a cocktail before we met a few of my friends at my favorite lounge for a quick drink and then headed here for a cozy, scrumptious dinner.
When we got back to the hotel that night, my sister and I filled out the room service breakfast menu for the next morning. I think we might have been a touch tipsy, because at 9am, the following appeared at our door: coffee, orange juice, eggs benedict with potatoes and asparagus, pancakes topped with strawberries, Irish oatmeal with caramelized bananas, croissants, bacon and sausage. Yeah. There wasn't even enough room on the table to put everything on it, so we all stood around in our white fluffy bathrobes, walking about from table to bed to night stand, eating a little of this, then sauntering over to have a little bit of that. It was ridiculously excessive, but so much fun. We made a pretty good dent in all the food, too.
In order to work off our morning feast, we went shopping, starting at one of my favorite boutiques. We crossed the city from the East Village over to Chelsea, then to 5th avenue, then back to Chelsea, where I got one of these. (I'm a big baker. It's something I learned from my grandmother and have always enjoyed doing, but once the RA struck, things like whisking and beating batter with a hand-held mixer were really painful and put a lot of stress on my wrist. Not anymore!)
We then headed back to the swanky hotel and got ready for dinner here. It was a truly divine dining experience. We had foie gras served three different ways, including a foie gras creme brulee. (Who knew?)
Post-dinner, we thought we'd check out the action upstairs at the hotel's bar and lounge (complete with swimming pool), but it was really too noisy and too much of a scene for us, so we retired for the day.
The next morning (sans ridiculous obscene breakfast), we reluctantly checked out and loaded everything into a cab to go uptown to my place, where I realized that my entire apartment was smaller than our room had been at the hotel. Sigh. In one last stroke of indulgence, we went to get pedicures nearby, and then off they went back to their respective homes, and me back to reality.
None of this cured my RA, clearly, but it did do a great job of making me feel cared for. I laughed a lot, and it took my mind off all the heavy real life issues I would be confronting from then on.
And now, I'm going to head into my kitchen to make some cupcakes with my favorite consolation prize. Take that, RA.