Allocating the spoons.

I did it!  I finally managed to get myself down to the local aquatic centre and into the hydrotherapy pool to do some long overdue aqua-jogging.  I’m feeling so proud of myself!

It used to be (about 6 months ago) that I was managing to get down there THREE times every week.  Sometimes I could only manage 15 – 20 minutes in the pool, but at least it was something.  That, unfortunately, lasted about four weeks before my body goes “ahhhhh no, I don’t think so Kim”.  Basically I had become so fatigued I was struggling to get out of bed, and my rheumatologist said I had to stop and rest and only start again when I felt able to.  I was also under strict instructions to restrict myself to 1 – 2 visits each week for no longer than 30 minutes.

Today was my first day back to the pool.  I woke up this morning after a rough couple of days, felt ok, and decided to bite the bullet and get down there.

It got me thinking though, about how many spoons chronically ill people get allocated, as opposed to those who are well who have unlimited spoons.  (If you’re a little lost here please read “spoon theory“).

While I was in the pool, I couldn’t help but notice a mother, with several of her relatives and a baby in one of those floaty things, basically taking up the middle of the hydrotherapy pool.  Now, please don’t think I’m a bitter and twisted mean person.  I do love babies, and this one was really cute….and babies and mums are allowed in the pool…..however…..not smack bang in the middle where aqua joggers have to go around them (it’s a little inconsiderate).  It got me thinking as I flailed my way around her every time I did a length, about how many extra spoons I was using to do that.  As a result I had to stop early because I felt a lot more tired.  It’s not something fit and well people understand…1.  That they have unlimited spoons and 2. Others do not.

When I got home and had to have my shower, I almost dropped my socks. I managed to catch them though, and as I did so I automatically found myself thinking…”phew, thank goodness I got those, it would have taken so much more energy to have to pick them up off the floor” and “thank goodness I brushed and flossed before going to the pool, I wont have to do that as well as have a shower and get dressed”.  And as for removing wet and clinging togs….that will be three spoons thank you very much.  Once showered and dressed and out to the lounge, my thought was “how much energy will it take to make a juice?”.  In the end I made a cup of tea, but in truth I really wanted a juice, however simply didn’t have the spoons to peel the fruit and blend them up. Cup of tea = 1 spoon, juice = 3.

It’s occuring to me today how often I am measuring my spoons daily…asking myself whether I have enough to do something, or will it have to either wait until later or another day, or do I just just flag it all together. Those thoughts are quickly followed by “OK, so if I do this, then will I need to nap before doing it? Or after?

Additionally I’m finding that I’m choosing not to do many things despite desperately wanting to.  There was a pottery exhibition on at the museum last week, but alas, I just didn’t have the energy to go.  And I’d love to get along to more of Max’s gigs, obviously I love to see and hear him play.  However my spoons allocation will rarely let me.

I feel sad when I think about how spoon allocation has become so automatic for me now….I’m constantly calculating my every move, and all decisions I make that don’t involve the recliner.  It used to be that my mind was taken up with creative, deep and meaningful thoughts.  These days I have to treasure the times I can indulge in my old ways of thinking, it generally happens on the recliner….for about 5 minutes before I fall asleep!  Still….at least my math skills are improving, 5 spoons minus 3 equals……..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Rugby and other success stories

Today our All Blacks team won the rugby world cup.  I am a little surprised to note how proud I feel about that, but there we are.  Whilst I didn’t get up at 5am to watch the game, I was very happy to hear the result upon waking.  Lets face it, most days it’s a struggle to actually have a shower without several rests during the process, so a 5am wake up and enthusiastic waving of hands, jumping up and down and the stress my heart would have been under watching was never going to happen!  But proud to be a kiwi right now?….why yes, yes I am.

I’ve never really been a big fan of rugby, I know, terribly unpatriotic of me since it is our national game.  I can’t seem to get past the drinking culture than can go with it, and the way it seems acceptable for our men to be all huggy and affectionate with each other on the field, but heaven forbid if they were to be a little “softer” with each other in real life.  Gotta keep up that staunch kiwi male persona right? (Yes, I’m probably being very general here and possibly, (that’s POSSIBLY) a little unfair about kiwi males…but I’m pretty sure there is some truth in my thoughts too).

Actually, sports in general.  I’m really not good with the whole sport thing. Prior to getting sick, I was a bit active, and managed to keep reasonably fit.  I even trained and competed in a body shaping contest about 18 years ago (got third actually – probably the biggest sporting achievement I’ll ever do in my lifetime so I feel a little “blowing of my own trumpet” is ok).  But not so these days….the most difficult thing I do physically now is using my calf muscles to push the footrest of my recliner into place as I get out of it.  Sigh.

I miss not being active actually, and from my recliner I can look out the window onto the street and I see a number of slim women about my age, jogging past in their lycra with pony tails swinging.  (Can anyone detect a tinge of green in my voice?). When I was thirty, I thought I was going to be one of those middle aged fit, beautiful ladies.  I imagined myself riding my bike through the plantation with my kids, going for hikes while seeing the sites of our beautiful country as a family and camping trips in a tent during the summer holidays. I was going to age well, and be an active, stylish, successful and busy middle aged woman.

I’ve changed my focus now through necessity, and I’ve become a plump Mum, who, on good days bakes yummy cakes and fudge for my boys,  drives the country when I’m well enough to visit my two oldest  (and I really love these road trips), oh, and of course I run the household from a recliner in the corner of the lounge. (Not to mention a cat lady, who collects strays).  If my fingers are working I can crochet blankets for my family some days, and look….I’m also a blogist! And there’s more….it’s all a case of looking at the things I can do and not what I can’t, although to be honest, most days are a mix of both.

I love to see people around me being successful in the things they strive for though. In the past there used to be an element of competition about that.  I felt I needed to keep up and be able to achieve amazing things too, but I’ve long given up on that!

Now,I love to appreciate my lovely husband Max who is an awesomely talented pianist and continues to achieve great things with his music.  Each of my boys are doing really well in terms of using the gifts they have been blessed with to grow themselves and their lives.  I have two friends who are both using their creative talent to make and offer beautiful art to the world.  And now just look at our national rugby team….world champions. It truly does my soul good to celebrate the success of those around me.  And it helps me to remember that although my achievements seem small and insignificant in comparison these days, most mornings getting my shower done, my hair and face presentable and managing to get dressed, for me, is as good as getting out there and playing a full on game of rugby.  And if the  spoon theory is part of your life, I’m sure as another “spoonie” you will identify!