Zelda and Chronic Illness

As Pam and I were playing Breath of the Wild, the latest Zelda game to be released, I jokingly referred to something I was doing as a “modest test of strength”, comparing my actions to one of the common shrine tests scattered throughout the game. We laughed about it, but realized a bit later that it wasn’t that far off the mark when discussing what actions caused me to use up my spoons faster or things that were harder for me to do than they would be for healthy people.

In the game, you face certain combat trials that are either “A Minor Test of Strength”, “A Modest Test of Strength”, or “A Major Test of Strength”. Obviously, the minor tests are the easiest, modest are a little harder, and major tests are the most difficult and take the most effort. I soon began thinking about things I do each day and how much effort they take or how tired I feel afterwards. It was suddenly very easy for me to categorize each thing as a minor, modest, or major test of strength.

We had a fairly active day yesterday that I kicked off with a hot shower. Showers, for me, are a major test of strength. They take a lot of effort and I  usually feel exhausted after I take one. I can’t shower without someone within earshot paying attention because I’m at a much higher risk of passing out due to the temperature change and the length of time I’m standing on the slippery shower floor.

After showering, I wanted to help Nikki and Pam clean, but found that, despite each task being a “minor test”, “modest” at best, I didn’t have enough spoons to do very much. So I had to pick and choose what actions I could perform and which I needed to ask for help with. I couldn’t pick things up off the ground without feeling dizzy and faint, but I could sweep and tidy up counters and table tops without much issue.

It might have started out as a joke, but it ended up being a really great way for me to think about how I was using my spoons and, as a result, taking better care of myself and better communicating where I was to my support network.

There are a lot of things on the horizon that I’m pretty excited about. I’ll keep you updated as they progress!

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