Friday, January 04, 2008

Spending Your Spoons: Or, What it's Like to Manage Chronic Illness

"Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions... The difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn't have to."

She handed her friend a bouquet of 12 spoons, explaining that unlike healthy people -- who have an unlimited supply -- those of us living with CI (chronic illness) have to always monitor the limited number of spoons we possess, and think carefully about how to "spend" them.

Christine then asked her friend to list the tasks of her day, whether chores or fun activities. Each item would cost her one spoon. And if you didn't sleep well the night before, or skipped your medicine, or dosed it incorrectly, or caught a cold, that would cost you even more precious spoons. "You do not want to run low on spoons, because you never know when you truly will need them," Christine explained.

In general, I have three parts of my life that I just can't get to all go well at once: work life, writing life, personal life.

There are a lot of spoons involved in making all those things work, in doing that much, in doing it well, in doing it all. We all have a finite amount of energy. I just have fewer spoons than most people.

I try to spend them wisely.

1 comments so far. Got something to say?

La Gringa said...

Dude, I have some plastic sporks I can Fed-Ex over. ;-)