On a notecard briefly answer one of these questions: what uses up your energy (spoons) the most; how do you most like to expend your energy (spoons)?
If you’re not familiar with the Spoon Theory, I encourage you to read this post from butyoudontlooksick.com. It’s well worth the read. But for the sake of this post, I’ll briefly summarize this whole spoon business.
Essentially, spoons are an arbitrary measurement of energy. “Healthy” people have unlimited spoons to use during the day, but people dealing with chronic pain have a limited number of spoons. As a result, seemingly ordinary tasks like taking a shower or going to the grocery store are weighed against the amount of energy, or spoons, required. Some days you have more spoons at the ready, and can get more done. Other days, you barely have enough spoons to get out of bed. If you ever see #spoonie included on a tweet, now you know what’s going on.
In the grand scheme of things, the Spoon Theory can apply to anyone, to any patient as a way to convey the struggles that come with getting by day to day. With that understanding comes the collaboration at Medicine X. Attendees decorated spoons in the image of the thing that drains their spoons on a daily basis. What consumes you as a patient advocate? What keeps you up at night as a patient? What worries you the most as a caregiver? If you’re honest with yourself, these are incredibly intense questions that can cost a number of spoons to just contemplate.
You can search Twitter for #MedXHangover right now, it’s a real thing. The emotional adrenaline rush of the conference comes to an abrupt end when you must return to the real world and there’s a feeling of emptiness. Despite the exhaustion that comes with being “on” for three or four days, it’s one of the most fulfilling experiences you can ever be part of, but when it’s over, you don’t want it to end. It’s an addiction that fuels your drive to want to cross off everything on your advocacy to-do list and in the same instant create fourteen new to-do lists because your brain is overflowing with drive and conviction.
But then the conference is over, you give your hugs, maybe shed a few tears, pack your bags, and return home – wherever that may be.
Last month I sent Regina Holliday a jacket and a little write up summarizing my diabetes advocacy efforts thus far. Today Regina is sending my jacket back with this mural painted on the back. It’s beautiful. I might have cried a bit when I first saw it. I can’t wait to wear this during Medicine X.
Dr. Mike Sevilla returns to the podcast to discuss the growth of social media use among the physician community, how he helps his peers see the benefits of social media, and the prospects of an engaged physician community among health care conversations online. We also talk about the value of disconnecting from the Internet from time to time and Dr. Sevilla’s anticipation. Enjoy!