Business Musings: Spoons (A Process Blog)

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For a free audio version of this post, click here.

When we started into the aftermath of Dean’s crash & burn, a dear friend reminded me that I only had so many spoons each day, and when I was out of spoons, I had to stop whatever I was doing and rest. She also reminded me that I needed to be satisfied with whatever I got done, because there were always more things to do each day than it was possible to do.

She knew what she was talking about. During the pandemic, she and her partner had gone through the aftermath of an accident that included month-long bed rest and the possible loss of a limb. Rehab took a year, no limb was lost, but a lot of determination occurred. These two are my heroes in more ways than one.

She was the caretaker, not the injured, and as everyone loves to remind me, these events are hard on the caretaker too.

I know this. I’ve coached others through similar situations to mine. One of my biggest scares during that last year in Lincoln City was when Dean got pneumonia. He was down for a month, but was mostly ambulatory and able to do many things. I had to step up, though, and I was sick too. Stepping up was hard, and I realized that should something big happen, where Dean was bedridden or I had to go back and forth to the hospital all the time, I was not healthy enough to do that without real help.

That’s one of the many reasons we moved to a city. Nearby hospital care, home health care, and all sorts of other services, such as one I used on Sunday. The glories of grocery delivery. (I may never go back.)

Dean’s doing much better. I no longer go through life covered in sticky notes just to remember what I need to do next. We have moved from crisis to recovery, and I hope, after a meeting with the surgeon this week, to full rehabilitation.

I’m doing less and he’s doing more.

My brain can go to other things.

So, last night, I began a blog post I’d planned before the crash & burn. (Yes, that’s how we refer to it here.) The post is an analysis of something that fascinates me. I got a bit into the weeds, woke up thinking about it, realized the weeds were necessary, and outlined the rest of the post to finish when I got home from University of Nevada, Las Vegas today.

UNLV today included a make-up quiz and more Angels in America. It also included a lot of walking and some wonderful interaction with wonderful people.

I got home, made sure Dean was okay, and took a much-needed nap.

Normally, I would have sat down after the nap and finished the post. I know where I’m going. I know what I want to say.

I haven’t even called up the file. My brain is tired. I am out of spoons.

Well, not entirely. I have enough space to cook dinner, make sure Dean walks with me tonight, pick up some packages that probably contain essential cat food, write this post, and do the audio for it.

Those are a lot of spoons.

But analysis? No freakin’ way. That particular spoon—the one that allows me to concentrate and make connections—appears to be missing.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve had to jettison quite a few things as we’re moving through this crisis. Yesterday, I dumped my step streak because it was do that or study for the make-up quiz. I had already decided not to go to my Pilates class (which fixes my back) because, with the time change and the exhaustion, I wasn’t sure I would be able to drive home safely.

I’m not angry about these things because I know they’ll return. Unlike what my friend went through, I’m not facing a month of bedrest for my partner. He’s already mobile and doing lots of things. Of course, he sleeps between all the things, but that’s good and healthy and necessary for his recovery.

This is short term.

But the one thing I hadn’t expected in this entire spoons analogy is spoon quality. Yes, I can write a blog tonight, but I can’t write an analysis blog. I am subjecting you all to yet another personal process post so I can hit my deadline.

Of course, I am prioritizing. That’s what people do in an ongoing life changing event. Taking care of Dean and our home is the first priority. Sleep for me is the second. The third is making sure all the medical things are in order. There are some household items that need tending to and a few of them are annoying.

Decades ago, Dean and I split household duties this way: the person who cares the most about a thing is the one who does it. Which means that right now, I’m doing all my things and the things I don’t like doing. Hence, grocery delivery. (Ah! Thank you, whoever invented that.)

Then there are the various businesses. I have my writing business as well as the business Dean and I share, WMG. Fortunately, the staff at WMG is great. But they are taking on some extra work as well. They have had to remind me of many things—some of which I missed because that first week, I didn’t even open the mail.

I am getting plenty of exercise, just not the kind I prefer. So that’s taken care of. As I wrote last week, I’m getting fiction writing done. Not as much as I would like, but some.

And every day, I’m grateful that things did not go as badly as they could have. Dean’s a great patient, and very clear communicator, as those of you who listen to him in our online workshops know, and that’s quite valuable. We’re getting through this together.

But spoon quality. Dang! I have a write the blog spoon, but not a write something that requires analysis spoon. At least, not at the end of a long day. Maybe I could have written it when I got up this morning, but other life things beckoned.

I think that’s the biggest surprise for me. I can do many things, but my window for things that need concentration and focus is very small. It’s a bigger window than it was last week. I know it will continue to improve as time progresses.

I’m even being patient, which is so unlike me. Maybe because Dean has all the impatience spoons. I loaned them to him unwittingly. I had hoarded them when I was the sick person in Lincoln City and during our move. I was quite impatient and he was very steady.

Steady is easy.

Thinking is occasionally hard.

So, I’m writing this post to let you all know that yes, indeed, I’m still blogging. But the high quality blogs that I had hoped would fill November might start a few weeks later than expected.

Thank you, everyone, for all the support over the past few weeks. I cannot tell you how much Dean and I appreciate all of it.

“Business Musings: Spoons,” copyright © 2023 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright belchonock on Deposit Photos.

8 thoughts on “Business Musings: Spoons (A Process Blog)

  1. Your something-that-requires-analysis spoon is being used up by caring for Dean – all that energy is being spent on analysing the stuff that needs done, sifting out the stuff that doesn’t, and that leaves you without that particular “spoon” for now. It’ll come back!

  2. Although I am entirely unknown to you, you are known to me. I saw you and Dean at Twenty Books years ago, and it changed the way I wrote. Not only that, but I have admired your courage and willingness to speak the truth from afar. I only wanted to tell you that I am probably one of thousands who are sending prayers your way. It’s just my humble reminder to you that you know that you are not alone.

  3. I’m very glad to hear that Dean is doing better, and hope that you both have spoons to spare sometime soon.

    We’ve been having a parallel experience ourselves, with Ruth being the one juggling the spoons. I ended up with a hip fracture on Oct 1 (like Dean, I was doing something I enjoyed–I fell while getting off of my bicycle after a short ride). That put me in the hospital for 8 days (which also included a delay in the needed surgery), with both Ruth and my sister making many visits.

    But I’m home now, I’ve graduated from a walker to a cane and I’m now able to drive again (just in time for OryCon). So Ruth’s life is a little more normal now. And someday, I may be able to get back on the bike…

  4. Earlier this year I broke my elbow and shoulder. Then that same week I got the flu. My poor husband was dealt all the unfun spoons. But today he’s down with a cold and probably needing some reaccumulation of good spoons. He has a demanding job, a father who was recently placed in an independent living facility . Plus he has family who keep making grabs for the little bit of money his father has. Oh, yeah and the government might shut down and he’s a government employee.
    I have my limitations and I depend on my husband greatly, but I keep enough spoons in reserve to turn the tables regularly to help my caretaker. It isn’t easy when two people need support, but grocery and prescription deliveries help. Plus the big A. Love them or hate them they’re great when you don’t want to drive to all the stores.
    Hope you both get all your good spoons back soon.

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