I was planning on making the boys’ costumes for Halloween today. I even started making them. And then, suddenly, Crohn’s Disease.
Some days, I hate my body. Not in the way that a typical 28-year-old woman might hate her body for not being slim or supple enough, but in the sullen, resentful way that a person might hate another for some sort of betrayal. Because it’s not easy or fun to live in a body that you can’t trust to do what it’s supposed to do.
Before we get any further today, I’d like to direct your attention here. That link will take you to the Spoon Theory, which is probably the closest to the unified field theory that the chronically ill have. If you have the time, read it, because it’s excellent, and then skip to the next paragraph here. If you don’t, I’ll briefly summarize. Suppose you have a certain number of spoons. For our purposes, and for the sake of continuity, we’ll say you have 12. 12 spoons. Everything you do in any given day costs you X spoons. And I mean everything. Showering, brushing your teeth, eating meals, cooking, cleaning, even sitting at a computer working, these each cost spoons. Simple things like getting dressed only cost one spoon. More complicated tasks like cleaning your bathroom can cost multiple spoons, depending on how thorough a job you do of it. It is almost impossible to gain more spoons over the course of the day. Some days you start out with more spoons than others, but you can’t just assume that you’re going to have more spoons tomorrow because you probably won’t. Don’t have a spoon to spare for washing dishes? Too damn bad. Dishes don’t get washed.
The point of the Spoon Theory is that most people, healthy people, have no idea what it is to have a such a low limit to the number of spoons they have. Most healthy people have spoons to spare.
The Spoon Theory author has Lupus and as such uses it as the example, but this theory applies to pretty much everyone with chronic conditions. Me? I have Crohn’s Disease which effects the digestive tract. Not only do I have to mind all the things that I do, but all the things that I eat. It all costs me something. Maybe that salad is “better” for me than the cheeseburger, but it’ll make my guts cramp something awful and send me running to the bathroom in fairly short order (how severe either of those effects is depends on how well I’ve been doing). And both of those things, the stomach pains and the bathroom sprints, cost spoons. So, which do I choose?
It’s just super-exhausting to be sick. So if we show up to trick-or-treat this year and the kids are dressed as Mark-and-Michael-five-minutes-form-now instead of dinosaurs, you’ll know why.