Saturday, 28 January 2012

Never enough spoons....

I had never heard about 'spoons' until I saw them being mentioned on Twitter. Intrigued I read some blogs and began to understand why they are so good at explaining the constant struggle I have trying to do anything without CRPS wiping me out and making life even harder. The current overarching battle I'm fighting is trying to exercise or rather how little I can do. It always has and continues to drive me insane, especially when I look back to the pre CRPS days when I used to play 36 holes of golf, carrying a full set of clubs. Worked as a full time teacher with all that involved. I loved exercise, pushing myself in the gym, always trying to do more. Now I am desperately trying to do just 15 minutes of table tennis or boxing on the Wii each day, and even that seems to be too much. I can only use my upper body, doing it whilst sitting in the chair with my legs elevated. Let me try to explain it using 'the theory of spoons'.

The idea is that you have a limited number of spoons each day, each spoon providing energy which is used up doing things. The more you do the more spoons you use up. So what happens if you use up all your allotted spoons for the day? Well in a similar way to calories if you are dieting you then start to 'borrow' spoons from future days. Of course this assumes that you will do less on another day, not using all the spoons for that day and get yourself back on an even keel. The ideal would be that you only do enough to use up your spoons for each day and so consistently remain on an even keel.

Still with me? Now lets apply this to me and my situation. I can cope with the fact that the number of spoons I have available to me is less than when I didn't have CRPS. However I still haven't found, some six years later, just what my number is. I know it's very small, that's obvious. It has to be because regardless of how little exercise I try to do I will literally grind to a halt, presumably exhausting the entire week's spoons in a few days or less. Over the years I have tried to exercise for varying lengths of time, always with the aim of doing some two or three times a week. It never happens, I manage a couple of sessions and then I am so bad that I simply can't continue the regime. A week or more is then wasted whilst I recover, before I try again, changing the length of time and/or the frequency. Add in the occasional trip to Lakeside, hospital appointment and it soon becomes a complete nightmare. There simply aren't enough spoons no matter how 'good' I am. I always overdo it and pay the penalty.

Worst case scenario occurs during the speedway season. In just one evening goodness knows how many spoons I use, but it must be at least a weeks' worth because I wake the next day having been completely destroyed. I spend the next week limping along unable to do anything apart from fester in my chair and wait for the punishment to end. If I'm lucky I get a day or two of 'normality' before another meeting is upon me. Of course me being me, I still try to do other things which makes everything worse. Eric gets so frustrated with me and does his best to save me from myself, forbidding me trying to exercise etc. I know that I'm my own worst enemy, always wanting to do something, rage against the condition. I can't help myself!!

Having so few 'spoons' is so very hard to accept, because the reality of that means my life would consist of me doing virtually nothing, not go out at all, not try to exercise, nor do some gardening in my lovely raised veggie beds. I can only manage one bath a week as it is, brush my teeth in my chair (Eric brings all the stuff to me), am forced to use a commode, can't get around the house, let alone help with the housework or prepare food. I can't do any of that because of my appalling mobility CRPS has caused. I can only play a video game for an hour or so first thing in the morning when Eric walks the dogs.  Of course this renders me incapable of anything other than sleep for a good part of the rest of the morning or I'm stupid and we go out and then the rest of the day is even worse.

I am so sick of feeling rubbish, grinding to a halt, being in such pain and everything else I have to put up with for daring to do what amounts to very little. However the alternative, namely sitting in my chair doing nothing all day every day doesn't bear thinking about. So I shall continue to try and do my 15 minutes of exercise on the Wii each day and all the other things that I don't and never will have enough spoons for. Let's face it I feel rubbish so regularly anyway, I may as well have something good to remember why I do!!