Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Waste of a Good Spoon

A colleague of mine shared an article the other day about spoons. 

Click here for the link to the full article (which is worth a read) but I'll give the Coles notes version (for those of you who remember Coles notes).

In the story, a conversation happens between two friends, one of whom has lupus. The girl who has lupus is asked by her friend what it's like to have lupus. The friend is not looking for a scientific answer, she is looking for what it's really like to live with lupus every day.

So the girl gives her friend 12 spoons. And she tells her that these are all the spoons she has for the day. And that every time she does something (like take a shower, or make lunch or meet a friend for coffee) it will cost her a spoon. She then makes her friend talk through an imaginary day and her friend quickly realizes how much it 'costs' to simply get out of bed, shower, get dressed and have breakfast. She was down to 6 spoons before she even left the house.

It was a pretty powerful way to describe the decisions and the compromises a person has to make when, for whatever reason be it physical or emotional, they struggle to do what most of us do without a second though.

I read the article and it really got me thinking. After a while, I sent a response back my response. I borrowed the spoon analogy but tweaked it a bit to see if I could use it to describe diabetes.

I said that living with type 1 diabetes is like carrying 10 spoons around all the time.

Each spoon represents a question that needs to be answered. And all 10 spoons (or questions) must be answered before you move on to the next activity in your day be it getting into the car to drive to work, having lunch, going to an afternoon job, or even just going to bed for the night.

1. What is your blood sugar?
2. Is it going up or going down?
3. Do you still have insulin in your system from your last bolus?
4. Have you eaten something recently that has carbs?
5. Have you done any activity today that might affect your numbers?
6. Are you going to do any activity later that might affect your numbers?
7. Are there any other variables that might affect that number? (illness, what phase in your monthly cycle you are in, stress, extra sedentary day, bad sleep the night before, not enough water to drink etc etc).
8. Do you need to do anything (take insulin, eat something, drink water, lower basal insulin) before undertaking whatever thing you're about to do?
9. Do you have enough insulin left in your pump to get you through to the next activity with enough left in reserve in case you need it?
10. Do you have emergency carbs with you in case you answered any of the above incorrectly or in case the diabetes gods are feeling frisky?

Once these questions are answered, you can move on to the next activity in your day.

My colleague responded with a rather shocked-sounding email. "I had no idea it was that complicated". To which I responded "I think that's why I don't get worked up about most things. It's just not worth wasting a spoon."

Not worth wasting a spoon.

What an interesting way to look at your day.

If you only have so many spoons in a day what would YOU do with them?

What activities would you stop doing because, when it comes right down to it, they really are a waste of a spoon?

And which activities would you make sure to prioritize because they are totally worth the cost?

And since we have no way of knowing how many spoons other people get for their day, maybe we could cut them a little slack sometimes eh?

On a funny note, I went online to see if I could find a funny picture of a spoon to include in this post. I found two that I really enjoyed. Hope you like them too!

1 comment:

  1. Love this, such a great analogy!