Ponderings from a Procrastinating Prognosticator

Posts Tagged ‘maurissa tancharoen’

Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory

Posted by samatwitch on February 13, 2012

I know, I know.  I haven’t posted here lately.  I actually have a post or two I’m working on but they’re not ready so I thought I’d cheat and steal this from my Tumblr account.  It will go along with the others coming.

This young woman has written an excellent article about what it’s like to live with chronic pain, in her case Lupus.  My pain is nowhere near as bad as hers, or as Maurissa Tancharoen’s, who wrote an elegant post on how she lives with Lupus.  The spoon theory makes perfect sense to me, although I think for me it’s more like a cup of water, where sometimes an activity takes a few drops and sometimes it will take almost the full cup, but for me, I’m usually able to replenish it by resting.

I have degenerative disks in my back which also affect my legs.  On good days, I can walk to work in 15 minutes, walk home in 15 or 20 and sometimes even do a 20-minute walk at lunch time.  On the (thank goodness extremely rare) bad days, it can take me 45 minutes to an hour to get from my bed to the bathroom, into the living room to take an Advil and back to bed, in my small one-bedroom apartment.  (I do keep some Advil and a bottle of water by the bed now.)  I’m fortunate that those days are rare and that I so rarely took even an aspirin for my headaches/migraines/ankle problems growing up that I can get relief from one or two Advil and haven’t had to resort to stronger pain meds – especially since Advil tends to make me sleepy.

Although I don’t have to make the same kind of – or as many – decisions as Christine talks about, there are some I have to make.  Do I need to do laundry tonight or shall I empty garbage?  Both cause me pain so doing only one in an evening is the best choice.  If the arthritis I’ve developed in my left thumb and first finger is flaring up and makes it difficult to cut up meat and vegetables for the stir fry I had planned, I’ll probably have eggs or something simple.  If I lean down to pick up my cat, chances are very good that I won’t be able to do much else for at least half an hour, so she better give me good cuddles! 🙂  (And often she jumps up by herself.)

One of my favourite things to do is making cookies to give to friends for birthdays, holidays, as thank yous.  Standing up to bake and leaning over to take them out of the oven are now things I have to consider with respect to what else I need to do.  The same goes for entertaining.  Because I love to do it so much, I will continue, but I try to do as much as possible beforehand, and I take at least one day after to recover.  Fortunately, sitting is something I can do, which is odd for disk problems, but good for me. 🙂  Therefore, when I’m cooking or baking, I sit for a couple of minutes, usually every hour to begin with, then gradually as the day goes along, it’s about five minutes for every 15 minutes.  But when I sit down to dinner surrounded by good friends, interesting conversations and much laughter – always laughter – my cup is replenished at least half-way and that’s good enough for me.

I’m very lucky, in that I have friends who give me cleaning ‘vouchers’ as birthday and Christmas gifts, who come over to visit and empty garbage and recycling, who do the dishes for me after a big dinner, who will go out of their way to drive me somewhere.  Even at work, my coworkers will lean over to pick up something I’ve dropped so I won’t have to.  On days when I’m well enough to sit up but walking is a problem, my supervisor or a coworker will pick me up and bring me home.  (It helps that I live so close, of course.)

But the ‘good’ days still outweigh the bad by a long shot, days where I’m grateful that I can still walk to work and back; that I’m a long way from having to use a cane or walker or scooter; that I can enjoy the salt air, the beautiful mountains and ocean that I can see on my way to work and the park in which I work, which teems with wildlife – bald eagles, flickers, Canada geese, ducks – for most of which I have been foster mother – and currently five coyotes, not to mention all the dogs, other birds, etc.  I have friends and family that I care about and who care about me, a job I like and an annual charity event that is worth every effort I put into it.

Usually I end up with a ‘cup’ half-full at the end of the day (which is how I’ve always looked at life anyway!), and if I don’t, it’s because I’ve been doing something I love – entertaining, baking or spending time with friends – so it’s still worth it to me.

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