What are your spoons worth?

What are Your Spoons Worth?
Originally posted on www.ProHealth.com • June 25, 2017

Like many people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I have also been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome now known as SEID (Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease).

What is SEID?

The five main symptoms that the new IOM considers key for SEID are:

  • Reduction or impairment in ability to carry out normal daily activities, accompanied by profound fatigue
  • Post-exertional malaise (worsening of symptoms after physical, cognitive, or emotional effort)
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Orthostatic intolerance (symptoms that worsen when a person stands upright and improve when the person lies back down)

Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

No matter what fancy name the medical community uses, to me it means that I am always tired. Every activity that I choose to do will eat away at what little energy I have each day. I have to decide after work if I have enough energy to go to the post office, bank, swimming, or if I need to go straight home for my 3:30 p.m. nap.

I am always looking for ways that I can save my energy.

Grocery shopping takes the most out of me. It doesn’t matter how rested I am when I start shopping, by the time I’ve made it through all of the aisles, waited in the check-out line, pushed the cart to the car and unloaded the cart into the car, I am done. It becomes an effort just to drive home. Luckily, my husband and daughter carry the bags upstairs to the kitchen and help put away the groceries because after shopping, I grab an ice pack and head straight to my chair for a few hours.

More times than I care to admit, I have gotten half way through the store and find myself staring at the shelves. I stand there in a mindless fog, and even though I have my grocery list, I am lost. It is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. At that moment, I am unable to process my thoughts into words and feel as though I can’t go on. I have spent all of my spoons.

So, I was really excited when our town recently added an Aldi’s. It appealed to me for a couple of reasons. It is smaller (less walking), offers a greater variety of natural foods and is cheaper. I did my homework before going. I looked up the Wal-Mart price of everything on my shopping list so I could compare them to Aldi’s pricing.

One of the ways Aldi’s cuts costs is by having the shopper bag their own groceries. After I went through the check-out line, I pushed the cart to the bagging table. I didn’t think it would be a big deal to bag the groceries, but it turned out to be exhausting. Basically, I had to handle the items in the cart three times. First, leaning into the cart to take the food out and place it on the table. Second, I placed the groceries in the bags. Third, I put the full grocery bags back into the cart and finally, after pushing the cart to the car, one more time I took the bags out of the cart placing them into the car.

It took all my spoons, i.e. energy, to drive home and put away the groceries. Afterwards, as I was resting, I compared the prices between the two stores.

The total savings was $15.71. Was it worth it? I can think of a lot of things that I would rather spend my spoons (energy) on than grocery shopping.

To the healthy shopper, it probably seems ridiculous that I would rather spend an extra $15.71 than all of the steps it took to bag my groceries. It really is a struggle deciding between saving money and saving spoons. I need both. It has taken me years to realize how important it is to do everything I can to save my energy.

I am happy to report that I may even be able to save more spoons.

Some Wal-Marts have added a new grocery shopping feature called “pick up today.” You simply go online and select your groceries and the time you want to pick them up. There is no fee and the only requirement is that your purchase is over $50.00. You drive up to the door and they will put your bags in your car for you. You will want to check with your local grocery stores because I’ve heard this is becoming a trend.

Lost in the Fog

I have found myself Lost in the Fog this week.

I know that there really is no way that my non-fibromite friends & family will truly understand how it feels however I still find myself trying to explain it to them.

My daughter almost ended up grounded because I did not remember a conversation that we had last night. I know what you are thinking – but she is a good kid so I knew I could believe her when she told me we had talked and what had been discussed.

There was so many times today that I said the wrong word or went simply BLANK.

When I was describing it to someone today I was trying to remember if I had already told her. If so, she was nice enough to listen to me tell it again.

As I am writing this I can hear others telling me “it happens the older you get”.  I get it. Really, I do. No matter how much I lie about my age my body reminds me daily of my real age.  BUT IT IS NOT THE SAME!

It could be as simple as losing things or transposing numbers but fibro fog can seriously affect one’s quality of life.

You sit and stutter trying to come up with the word. ‘The thing, you know, the thing that you use for — never mind, the word is gone.”

It can be very disorienting and scary. It can screw up all of your senses.

One of my friends describes it “as if you’re getting startled awake in the middle of the night.”

There are many things that can make your symptoms worse and I have experienced many of them the past couple of days. Thanks to the wonderful summer storms we are experiencing I have had increased pain and less sleep.

Like everything with fibro we can’t predict when we are going to get lost in the fog but there are some things we can do to help alleviate the fibro fog provided you remember them.

  • Use planners.  PLURAL… more than one.. paper, electronic, post-it notes & alarms
  • Stick to a routine. Establishing routines can help you deal with brain fog.
    • Go to bed and wake up the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Don’t multi-task. Not easy for a type A, ADD personality.
  • Get regular low-impact exercise. Water exercise is the best for me.
  • Check on your meds.  Medicine can cause the fibro fog feeling. Talk with your medications that can help with attention and concentration.

Fibro Fog sucks. I could use prettier words but I can’t think of any better way to express it.  It took a long time but I have finally learned to laugh about a lot of the things that I have done during a foggy day.  Please feel free to post a foggy moment that made you laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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