Have you ever noticed that when they talk about MS and fatigue - they talk about spoons? I have a hard time relating to this. I guess being a teacher, I am used to 100 being good. And, think about it-if your cell phone is fully charge-it is 100%. (And that is another theory I have read about-let’s call it the Cell Phone Battery Theory.) Or, I was taught the 100 pennies. You begin with a 100 pennies and subtract one or more for each task to be done. You get no more-so use those pennies wisely. I like to think of this as the Dollar Theory.
Ok, using the Dollar Theory-let me explain my typical day. I wake up with 100 pennies. On a good day-it takes one penny to get out of bed. And one penny to walk to the bathroom. And 2 pennies (these days due to my spasticity) to stand and brush my teeth. That is 4 pennies already used! 96 more to go. Then about 4 or 5 pennies to get dressed. For the sake of this being a good day-let’s say 4 pennies. Now there is 92 more to go and I haven’t left my room yet. Then using the walker I get my bags and lunch. My PT and OT are trying to help me conserve pennies-lunch is an already prepared salad from the local grocery store. Breakfast is oatmeal or cereal. Yup, I used about 3 pennies. 89 left.
Using my walker, I go to the garage and put my things in the car. I hobble to the driver side and get in the car. 5 pennies on a good day. 84 left? Then it is in the car to drive to school. Luckily, I teach in the neighborhood. I really don’t think I use any pennies. I get to school and I have to get out of the car. Huh? I was comfortable. Now to coax my body to move. There goes 5 pennies. And then to car-walk (think wall-walk) to the trunk to get my walker that I keep in the trunk. And then to the car to get my school stuff. And then to the ramp, and through the hall, to the elevator and through the hall to my classroom. I am getting tired. Let’s say-on a good day-12 pennies. So that is 77 pennies left and school hasn’t begun yet.
I am thankful, I teach special education and I am working in a GREAT school district. The kids come and go, and I am in my element. I think there is still 77 pennies left. Until I remember I need to go to the restroom. I get up, and my bladder me that I should have gone. I walk to the bathroom, and change clothes (yes, this is a routine)—10 pennies. Then back to classroom, and eat lunch at desk helping kids.
67 pennies left. Then work with more kids, work on paperwork, and RR again. -10 pennies. 57 pennies left. Then back to classroom and shut down computers and get ready for the last bell. On a good day -5 pennies. So there are 52 pennies left. Now it is through the hall, down the elevator, through the hall, down, the ramp, put things in car, car walk, put up walker, car walk get into car-- -15 pennies. 37 pennies left.
Then it is go home. And get out of car and get stuff and through utility room, and kitchen where I dump lunch box, and to living room where I collapse on chair. A good day? -15 pennies. Getting out of the car in the garage is just a tiny bit hard. 22 pennies left. I sit, veg out, chillax, bank and save points. My daughter comes home and asks, “What’s for dinner?” She is 25. I am tired. I need to get ready for bed. Take a shower. Brush teeth. Go to bed. If I am lucky, I used up about 7-10 pennies. I love my PT and OT. I have a shower chair in the shower and it is heaven!
So let’s say I end the day with 18 pennies (on a good day).
Now, how to make this work with spoons-100 spoons? Give spoons a value of 5, so 20 spoons? Or should I just forgo the spoons and stick to pennies?
Lisa D. Graham
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