Counting spoons

Counting spoons

I’ve been up since 4am, listening to old episodes of Cheers, while I laid in bed praying I’d fall back asleep. Even Zoey and Marshy were snoring away, but not me, I just laid there, hour after hour. I finally gave up at around 7:30 and made coffee. I start each day with a certain amount of steam in me that fizzles as the day goes on. How much steam I start with can vary everyday. I read on a few people’s blog about being a spoonie or counting spoons, I never understood it until I finally read an explanation.

The spoon theory is a disability metaphor used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. Spoons are a tangible unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout a given day.

You start off a given day with let’s say 12 spoons…each activity you do requires you to remove a spoon that you have. When you have a chronic condition the object is to obviously not lose all your spoons to fast. So if you need to shower, that’s a spoon, getting dressed, that’s a spoon, making breakfast, another spoon and before you’ve even walked out of your house, you’re already down to 9 spoons. If you’re working, a parent or have a dog, little by little your spoons are depleted until you’re running on fumes.

The problem is when you start your day at only 8 spoons or one activity for unknown reasons wipe out 5 or 6 spoons. That to me is my  challenge with MS. There is no rhyme or reason to how much I’ll start each day with. I’ve had no sleep and I’m tired, but I feel basically like my normal self. So today I’m starting with my 12 spoons. Yet last Friday,I went to physical therapy, a place I’ve been since October, and I needed help getting in my car. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get home. I lost 8 spoons in less than an hour. My trip to the doctor last week and my one errand I had to make, photocopies at Staples, I came home passed out on my couch. In 30 minutes I lost 6 spoons. No rhyme or reason. How do you plan with that? How do you know? The unknown of MS!!! All these chronic conditions are so tough. The warriors living with it, fighting, blogging, I give everyone so much credit. It’s so true about the spoons and it’s a great way to describe a given day, our given challenge and our depleted energy.

8 thoughts on “Counting spoons

  1. This is wonderfully accurate and can so easily be understood by anyone. I couldn’t agree more – each day’s activities consume an inconsistent number of spoons; more often than not leaving no measure of energy to spare .

  2. Well said Jamie. So true. There is no way to plan. You never know how many spoons you will have at any given time. I started another section in the yard this weekend. I’ve been pushing through but this week I just don’t have it. There is nothing to push with.
    It kinda sucks to be up hearing everyone snore doesn’t it. Lol. Unfortunately that is my daily. I haven’t slept past 1am in 3yrs. I tease when everyone says good morning. You mean afternoon right. 🙂

    1. It’s so hard. Some days I’m great. Some days I’m awful and I’m always asked, why did you do something different? It has no pattern it’s gives no indication and you never know what each day will hold. I’m excited to see the pictures of the other side when you get it done. I’m sure it will be gorgeous.

  3. Thank you for sharing; this is a very good explanation. The unknown of it all is definitely what’s hard for me, too. Spoons are so unpredictable, and that’s maddening when chronic illnesses, especially my chronic mental conditions, thrive on having predictable routines! And who knows what our spoon allowances are going to be day to day. Could be 20 one day, -6 the next!

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