I started this blog way back when to deal with the mind-altering reality I was faced with now that the COPD diagnosis was official, and I could no longer pretend to keep up with my work or home life needs.
Being able to rest when I needed, and learning to tackle household chores at my own pace has been quite a mental adjustment.
Under the “spoon” theory of not having enough energy to both take care of myself and take care of my general cleanliness responsibilities, daily tasks began to get reassigned. Weekly tasks became every two weeks or monthly. Monthly tasks became quarterly. And so on and so on… in order to ensure tasks which were important to me, I had to consider all indoor and outdoor responsibilities, and prioritize. Yes, like the anal retentive control freak I am.
Something as simple as washing my kitchen floor becomes an Olympic-level endurance event.
Rolling out of bed and skipping breakfast and my medications (because eating triggers instant tiredness, and I can’t eat and expect to get anything done), I get started.
10:00am – All the kitchen clutter needs to be moved out of the room, and the room needs to be swept. Then, I need to sit down and rest.
11am, the bucket of water and scrubbie is ready. I have sweatpants on to pad my knees (it’s been a lifetime since I was a good Catholic girl, but I know that the only way to properly clean is on my hands and knees), and I throw down a drop cloth for extra knee padding. I wash the first part of the floor, hitting it with straight alcohol and peppermint essential oil (one of the few scents that doesn’t mess with my breathing), and wiping it down with paper towels. Then a final warm water rinse with the scrubbie, and more paper towels to dry the floor as I go to keep the cat from tracking through the water and making a fresh mess. I get a quarter of the floor done, then it’s time for another break and a rest.
While it normally takes me 3-4 days to complete a 10×15 kitchen floor, I’m under pressure to get it done as it will be impossible to do once the houseguest returns at some point over the weekend.
1:30pm, I’m exhausted, but I have got to get the floor done. Take my blood sugar reading while drinking gallons of water from all the sweating I’m doing trying to get the floor done, and decide I need to have something to eat and my meds, so that the side effects from the Theo Dur EX capsules don’t keep me up all night from its stimulant, but especially since I had enough of that drama from the lovelorn jay that has built its nest by the streetlight and spent the last 3 nights serenading me, ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
So, time for decent eating. One teriyaki chicken sandwich on a potato bun, plus mayo, and more water and I’m done. Nap time is inevitable at this point.
3:30pm, I’m up again. Still exhausted, but the floor is calling me. I set myself a goal, and I will get it done. Gum drops and water for energy. Forget about Diabetes; I need energy! Fresh gloves. Fresh, hot, rinse water. Position the knee pad drop cloth, and another quarter panel of the floor is done.
4:30pm, time to sit for a bit and rest. Maybe a little Judge Judy. About half the floor is done at this point. I’m tired, but I have to find energy. Protein for dinner is best. Heat up some leftover fillet mignon, make a little pink sauce (mayo and ketchup – A1 will just make me cough…).
6:45pm, I reheat dinner and get that down, and immediate exhaustion sets in. More water. Add some Mike and Ikes fruit candy for a much needed sugar rush.
7:15pm, back at work doing another quarter of the floor. My arthritis in my wrist and back is acting up, but since I’m in pain most days anyway, I suck it up in the hope that I’ll bull my way through this project in one day.
8:30pm, time for another rest. Sweating like crazy. Guzzling water like a crazed person crossing a desert. Grateful that no one can see my drunken stupor-like exhaustion. I. WILL. GET. THIS. DONE.
9:30pm, the final quarter and home stretch. I have a chocolate chip cookie dough shooter from the bakery, and the sugar rush fills my empty energy reserves. At least for a little bit. I’m finally done by 10:30pm – 12 hours after I started – and Herself, the supervisor, is “inspecting” my work to ensure it’s up to her standards, LOL.
From my perspective with 26% lung capacity, something as simple as cleaning my kitchen floor becomes an Olympic event. In order to reassure myself that the house is clean before the houseguest returns, it was a must do task.
Today, I gave up the “spoon” for personal grooming.
Today, I gave up the “spoon” for socializing.
Today, I gave up the “spoon” for watering the garden (and the tomatoes need the water on this permitted watering day), but cleaning the floor has a small window of opportunity, so it comes down to choices.
Instead, I used 90% of today’s spoons for cleaning one small portion of my house. The last 10% is wasted on my bedtime routine for putting Herself to bed and securing the premises as I head to bed, too. Indoor fish fed. Outdoor water garden / fish pond checked (the fresh air after dark was just what I needed as I wandered into the back yard to ensure everything was operating as intended).
Yes, I checked into fb off and on today. It’s easy to do if I’m too tired to leave my chair. Ditto with gathering my thoughts and writing a blog or two.
But, as hot and sweaty as I am, my only goal right now is to head to bed. No dishes done. No shower. Just go to bed and put everything I didn’t get done today – in terms of picking up the mess and emptying the trash – on the list to do tomorrow.
Sometimes, that’s the best you can do.