Goodbye dishpan hands!



This was me, drowning in angst and ennui at the prospect of another two and a half hours of dishwashing. But now I know it’s easier to chunk big jobs into more manageable sizes, then I would look out the window and think to myself, “I only have eight 20-minute chunks of dishes to do. Yay!” Image is from

If you remember, back in February, in the wake of the basement flooding, our dishwasher gave up the ghost. I’ve lived in places without dishwashers and survived. In fact, with arthritis in my thumbs and wrists, washing dishes was like physio for my hands and a little bit of mindfulness meditation and living in the very moment of helping a glass fulfil it  sparkle.

But, when you have lymphedema of the arm, washing dishes is contraindicated, Stretching my hand down into the sink in a more than skin-tight rubber glove over my lymphedema sleeve and glove, washing in hot water. I have never been happy washing clothing in cold water, so my dishwashing water must be scorching hot. Between the heat, the pull of gravity, the small motor movements of the hands and fingers in two layers, and the actual compression, well, it’s nasty.

Enter the fairy grandparents of my three kids, my ex-mother- and ex-father-in-law (I was very happy to win them in the divorce) (I kid, I kid!).

They were out shopping, saw some appliances on sale, and Grandma said, “Well, that’s what Jackie needs. She shouldn’t be doing all that washing with her arm like that.” And so they bought me one for my birthday. Grandpa was at the house for hours on Saturday and Sunday, assisted very competently by Graydon and Luka, pulling the old machine apart, yanking it from it’s built-in location crowbar and all. Luka took a photo of a 25+ year old mousetrap with the skeletal remains of some poor unlucky mouse. I encouraged him to post it on his Instagram, but he held back. Huh.

This dishwasher could be the best birthday gift I have ever received. It is so incredibly thoughtful, because while many people would like a dishwasher, I think I need it. Heavens knows I have failed in my attempts to get Luka and Graydon on regular dishwashing duty. I have had incredible nerve pain down the inside of my arm for the last three weeks, and I haven’t changed anything in my routine, exercises, self-massage, etc. Maybe it’s the built-up effect of dishwashing?

It is supposed to be here by end of the week. I’m considering, while waiting for the dishwasher to arrive, using up all the kids birthday paper plates, and there are tons of them. That sounds like a plan!





4 Responses

  1. Yay! A new dishwasher! Happy early birthday! Even though it’s saving you from nasty nerve pain, who likes washing dishes anyways? Not I, that’s for sure! I’m really happy for you! ❤️

  2. The best gift, and also the nicest grandma for the idea and grandpa for all the work ❤

  3. Wow, right on for the parents-in-law. Thoughtful and generous.

    • No kidding!! And Grandpa has installed it too, with the assistance of Luka and Graydon. Not bad for the former Director of Education for Halton, Peel and Wherever. He still wields the wrenches, hammer and level like a master builder. ❤

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