Spoons

All the dreadful diagnosis and radiology reports are stored somewhere deep in the recesses of my office. The scripts are filled and the date when new ones will be required have been diarised. Some days, the pain can be a reasonable 6/10. You need to work; you want to work. You feel okay, until you’re not. Trying to engage with people whilst sharp pieces of bone are lodged in your spinal canal for all eternity is tiresome. You have to rise above; transcend it. You need to focus more; work harder than others might.

I had a friend demonstrate a mop that has a receptacle for a eucalyptus oil and vinegar solution, and can be used on tiles and floorboards. You don’t need to lug a bucket of sudsy water from room to room! The knowledge of this excited me (more than is natural), and I was a convert after trying it out. My Friday night was spent sourcing this wondrous mop. When you are in constant pain, it’s the little things that mean a great deal. Anything that gives one comfort, is a beautiful thing.

Hiding within the liniments and machines, the Lyrica and other meds, is the same person you were before. You have the same ideals, the same dreams and the same goals. The mind is determined, but the body can sometimes falter. I had to cancel plans on the weekend. I was loathe to disappoint two young people and some amazing adults, and left it until I had to face the inevitable. I couldn’t carry on. What happened next filled my heart. I was encased in love. These beautiful people understood, completely and entirely, and checked up on me to ensure I had everything I needed. The relief was palpable. When the spoons allotted for the day are gone, they are gone.

Neurological and orthopaedic pain can be merciless, wiping you of time, energy and peace. It helps to consider the tides, determined by the moon’s gravitational pull. Sometimes, you experience high tide, where you can do everything your calendar dictates. Sometimes, you are pulled into yourself. Both have their time and place. Being able to adapt to what the moon is dictating, is necessary. If I have learnt anything in the past year, in the midst of the pandemic, is that nothing is set in concrete. Pain and health, security and insecurity can besiege a life, despite what we command. It is best to honour our bodies.

Spoons

Usually I am okay with the delegation of my spoons. You know, the ones those with relentless pain are given each day? You only get a few, so need to use them wisely. My daughter has started a program in the theatre. She absolutely loves it, and it has been a pleasure to transport her there. The other day though, I was still recovering from the pneumonia. Several nights of relentless coughing had made my spine excruciating, and my chest burnt. When one is running out of spoons, the promise of rest, of laying supine is tantalizing. ‘Ten minutes walk to the station, then an hour on the train. Once you round the corner to home, you can rest,’ I promised myself. Ha! There was a work vehicle outside, and a fellow cutting up steel. Yes, tonight is a splendid night to do several hours of building work, whilst your dog barks incessantly and your whole family hollers a metre or so from my home.

I am usually a considered person, not prone to losing the plot, but this particular night I did. It wasn’t much on the angry scale, but for me (who hates confrontation), it was spectacular! The pain escalated, and the noise was phenomenal. Now when one has no spoons left, one can get a bit beside oneself. I drank red wine, and turned up my stereo. I played Sam Smith at full volume. I paced. Pain makes one agitated. The only thing that helps me is silence and rest. I went through my list of strategies. Hot bath, liniments, Tens Machine, brace, etc. It has taken me a few days to gather more spoons. Every event has to have a break in between, each outing meticulously planned. Sometimes the best strategies can be brought down by the actions of others. The good news is I survived, and the noisy people have been introduced to Sam Smith, Indie Artists, The Old Married Couple and many more. Don’t mess with an overtaxed lady who is in excruciating pain! They were very fortunate that I was restrained and didn’t shove my collection of rusty and warped old spoons where the sun doesn’t shine!