Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A strategic lupus list equals a small, incremental list

We're moving right along with plans to renovate the house. Construction is set to get underway in October...planned for the beginning of the month, but I'm prepared that the date might shift, depending on how things shape up over the course of the next three months. Our architect couldn't be more accommodating, and he seems determined to keep us on schedule. Fingers crossed we keep chugging along.

Speaking of chugging along, back when I first posted about this whole-house renovation which will have us out of our home for 4-6 months,  I had grand plans to pack everything in the house that wasn't essential before Paola, our beloved au pair, left in the middle of May. Well - that didn't happen. In fact, I haven't packed a thing. I have cleaned out several closets, which will enable me to pack less, but it's time to get started. Like, now.

I've made the mistake of waiting to pack until the last week or two before a move - and I will not do that again. With or without lupus, that's not a good move.

So I sat down, again, and made a list of the closets/rooms/areas/stuff we need to pack. And I have to tell you, for one of the first times in my life, the list I made was all wrong. It was too general and broad - with things like, "pack Deirdre's closets" listed. It may not seem scary and overwhelming to you, but looking down at the list of all of these big, looming tasks, I just couldn't see where I was going to start. In fact, it made me not want to start at all. And that's not like me. I'm a doer. I'm a self-starter. I'm an organizer. Cleaning up, pitching and packing a closet is like a dream-come-true. But apparently, the idea of doing it 17 times in a row turned it into a nightmare.

So I need to go back and revise my list. This time around - I'm going to start small, with things like, "pack up extra linens", "box up Bernie's top two shelves", and "clean out underneath guest room sink". Things that are manageable, and jobs that can be accomplished within a few minutes. I know people like the FlyLady have perfected the art of cleaning and clearing out using this method, but as a gal who was born with an organizational notebook in her hand, I've never had to think long and hard about how to go about a task like this. I just do it. 

But now that my time is limited, my resources are thin, and my stamina is not what it used to be, I have to be strategic. I don't want packing even one box to put unnecessary strain on my mind or body. And the way to do that is to pack one shelf at a time, regardless of whether or not it fills a box, and then cross off "pack one shelf" off of my list.

Everyone wins - and the house gets packed. Albeit one shelf at a time.

This is the way many things are accomplished, including living well with lupus. While the big, sweeping changes you make are undoubtedly important (who can argue with the benefits of starting a drug that finally works?!), I think the real game-changers in our everyday lives with lupus are the small, incremental mental and physical accommodations we make to improve our lives with the disease. Simply adding a child-proof lock on my door the other day for my nap was, indeed, a game changer. Deirdre came to my door today during nap, turned the knob a couple times, found it impossible to open, and retreated back to her room. (Granted, she ended up paying a visit to her dad's office down the hall, but we're taking baby steps here...)

I won't bore you with all of the incremental changes I've made over the years, but I am going to take 30 seconds and, off the cuff, list a few of them. Little things that have made a big difference - at least to me. Some of these I still do, others were only temporary. Hopefully, this little list will inspire you to make even the smallest change to make things just a little bit easier:

Started rolling over to the side to get out of bed, rather than sitting straight up. (Instant back relief!!)

Started using Neat Squeeze toothpaste, saving myself an arthritic nightmare every morning and night.

Started keeping crackers in my bedside table so I could take my morning meds without getting out of bed.

Started using a pillfold. (I couldn't resist!)

Started wearing wireless underclothes, eliminating terrible pain from my back and side. (Okay - so I was
happy to see this one go. I waited patiently until my pain was gone...but I like a cute fitting brassiere as much as the next gal!)

Had "speed bumps" added to my wedding ring so that it could fit over my aching, swollen knuckles when necessary. (That isn't a pic of my wedding ring, by the way...but it's exactly what my speed bumps look like!)

Started taking my computer to meetings to type notes when I was working, rather than writing in a notebook - which was way too painful!

Okay - so I'll stop there. But I'm just warming up. Perhaps you guys can finish the list in the comments!


4 comments:

  1. Hi Sara! Just wanted to say how much I love your blog. I'm 26, was just married last month, and have been living with lupus for 3 years now. It's so inspiring to see someone who has a family and lives such a full life! And thanks for the speed bump idea...I've been so worried about what I'll do when my ring finger swells up!

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  2. I'm so glad I included the speed bumps, then! I never know if people can identify with some of the crazy examples I include - I'm so glad this one came in handy. And congrats on your wedding! I wish you all the best. Your kind comments are sincerely appreciated - thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. You have such a way of putting things that makes it so simple I wonder why have I been struggling so hard with that. Thanks for your common sense advice!

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  4. Cure4 - Thanks for stopping by! Sometimes I wish I could see the simplicity, too - I often find myself writing out a blog post, only to discover a few things I hadn't even realized before I started writing! Look forward to hearing from you again.

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