“A simplistic way to describe this illness is like having a jar full of spoons sitting on my nightstand, and each morning, there are magically a different number of spoons in there. And then each time I do an activity, I have to "spend" a spoon. So I get up and make the bed - spoon; I take a shower, dry my hair and get dressed - spoon, spoon, spoon. Eat breakfast, water the front porch plants - spoon, spoon. You get the idea. Going to an appointment uses up several spoons. Going to worship uses up several spoons. Interacting socially takes several spoons. I have to be very careful not to use up the day's spoons before the day is over. When I do too much, I flare, and the flare could last a day or several weeks. One of the things I learned about at the specialist was to train myself in "pacing". (Actually, I have a whole book about things I need to do!) Sometimes my body sends out warning signals that I am approaching the limit, and I go lie down. Sometimes it doesn't and that is where the pacing comes in - after a specific amount of time, I lie down anyway. Or at least that is the idea, but often I forget and I pay. Did you see the painting I did and posted to my blog on Sunday? When I am doing art, I get so in the zone, I forget about pain and exhaustion. But if I am not careful, I will cross my line, and once I have finished what I was doing, then I really pay and that's what happened to me Sunday later on. And Monday. And yesterday. I was in agony and I just had to wait it out. And I never know how many spoons will be in the jar the next morning.”
The spoon idea is not original with me (original writer), but I find it the easiest way to explain to people so that they have some idea of my daily life. Most people do not want to rummage through paragraphs of medical discourse, facts, and figures, so this is a good stand in.
I DO have a friend, who like the Bible says, sticks closer than a brother. We don't get to visit very much, as she teaches full time, and I am not always up to her coming over when she has some free time available. She knew about my spoon explanation and this past week, came over with an extra special gift, and I had to share it with you!
She had found four old spoons, written a verse from Scripture and some words of encouragement for each spoon, rolled them around the spoon stem and tied each with a different color ribbon. Then she tied tissue around an old sundae glass and inserted the spoons. Now I have a bouquet of spoons to look at and if the day is unbearable, I can pick a spoon and open the encouraging note. Being a very visual person, this comforts me more than I can say! Sometimes we spend the short time visiting on my bed, because I am not able to do more than that, and we laugh and encourage each other. I am very thankful for this most special gift from the Lord, and I think my husband is very thankful for me that I have someone else I can talk with.
The cross stitch in the background is one I had done for my mother many years ago, and brought it home with me when she passed on. The verse says "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body" (Proverbs 16:24). Together with the spoon arrangement there's enough encouragement for almost any day!
(Click on any picture you wish to see closer.)