About once a month since my college days, I have a friend who comes over to hang out. During college, we would have our friends “date night” out on the town. Tromping out to open mic nights, stopping by the local coffee shop to gossip, seeing the newest release of a movie… That was before.
Before I was a Salty Spoonie.
In my senior year of college I finally got a diagnosis. Seemingly out of nowhere, my heart would start racing and I would feel my world start to close in as things went black. Sometimes I would pass out. I felt as tired as a turtle racing a rabbit, but I couldn’t sleep. Forget about college classes - my brain fog was off the charts. Something felt wrong and I made it my mission to find out what it was. That’s when I learned about POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), a form of dysautonomia that affects blood flow. I now identify as a Salty Spoonie.
What is a Spoonie?
A Spoonie is simply someone who suffers from an invisible illness. A person, like myself, who struggles daily with making choices on how to spend their energy.
The Spoon Theory was written by Christine Miserandino to describe what chronic illness feels like. It is a retelling of a simple explanation using spoons she once gave a friend about how it feels to live with an autoimmune disease (Miserandino has lupus). When she wrote it, she had no idea that there would be millions of people who felt just like her.
What is the Spoon Theory?
The concept of Spoon Theory is that you are allotted a limited number of “spoons” upon waking for the day. Think of spoons as a physical representation of your energy level. In Miserandino’s example, every day you are given 12 spoons.
Taking a shower may cost two spoons, getting dressed could cost one. Fixing breakfast and cleaning it up could take three. You haven’t even left the house for work yet and yet you’ve already spent half your spoons!
When those spoons are gone, you’re done. You’re spent. But sometimes you can “borrow” from tomorrow’s spoons. However, that comes with a whole new set of problems. What if you don’t have enough spoons tomorrow? What if you get sick tomorrow?
That’s what it’s like living with chronic illnesses. Not enough spoons to do all the things, having to constantly make choices about how to spend your spoons, and always having spoons in your hand reminding you that you are, indeed, a Spoonie. Miserandino says, “When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war.”
What is a Salty Spoonie?
Glad you asked. Being salty helps manage my symptoms of POTS. Diets high in sodium will increase both blood volume and blood pressure when you’re staying hydrated. So, I’m quite literally salty
Does NormaLyte help Salty Spoons?
To manage my POTS, I drink oral rehydration salts (ORS) like NormaLyte. I found that the NormaLyte’s Pure flavor (or should I say unflavored!) is gentle on my stomach and helps me manage my symptoms. My brain fog is better, my electrolytes are balanced, and I’ve reduced the need for IV supplementation. All things that my doctor likes to see.
Living with an invisible illness sucks, but I’m lucky to have an old friend who was happy to change the way we hung out. Now she comes to sit with me, sometimes offering some of her spoons to do a task (being a “normie” she really has an excessive amount to spare!). Our “dates” may look different, but she’s my rock.
Do you have a non Spoony rock in your life?