7 Favorite Spoonie Products I Can’t Live Without

Having a chronic illness (or many) gives you some unique needs. Over the past few years, I’ve figured out solutions for some of mine. I decided to share my 7 favorite spoonie products with you here.

Mobisyl

Mobisyl Pain Relieving Creme
I like to buy the larger tub. It’s 8oz (vs. this 3.5 oz) and lasts me a full year.

This pain relieving cream is my go-to. I love that there is no menthol in it, so it is safe to use on my hands with no worry about it getting into my eyes. Mobisyl works really well on most of my pains, reducing the amount of pain killers I need to use. This may not work for everyone as I’m sure many people have more severe pain than I do. To give you an idea though, when I was waiting on my surgery for the torn meniscus in my left knee, Mobisyl made a big difference in my comfort.

Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Body Lotion

Dr. Teals Pure Epsom Salt Body Lotion
I usually buy the Lavender since I use it mainly at night, but there are other scents available.

I rely on this lotion to help me with the leg cramps and muscle twitches caused by my fibromyalgia at night. After running out I decided I can never let that happen again. A few sleepless nights made that decision for me. I’m really glad it is available on Amazon Prime (a whole other favorite of mine).

Shower Chair

White Shower Chair
This is the chair I bought. It is very sturdy, and has never made me feel unsteady.

I never want to be without my shower chair. It saves me so much energy that I need elsewhere. Thinking about getting one but hesitating? Stop putting it off, and just get one. I promise a shower chair is well worth it. Between the energy saved, and the security of not worrying about your balance, it is money well spent.

Bath Cloth

Purple gentle bath cloth from Body Benefits
I had a hard time finding the exact one I use to show you, but I think this is very close. When it is time to replace my current one, I’ll be buying this one.

My hands don’t always grip very well, and sometimes my shoulders get stiff. This can make washing up a challenge. I bought quite a few different products before finally finding this one that I love. It is thin and easy to rinse, so I don’t need hand strength to rinse and squeeze it out. It is long and narrow (as you can see in the picture) so it makes it easier to wash my back. I can also either fold/wad it in my hand to make it easy to hold, or wrap it around my hand if I have no grip that day. There is an exfoliating version, but I bought this gentle style, so I can use it even when my skin is feeling extra sensitive.

Knorks

4 matt knorks
We bought ours from a local shop about 10 years ago.

These work like a fork and knife together. I love these because they are slightly thicker, so they are easier for me to hold. Knorks also make it possible for me to use one utensil to cut food when other forks would hurt my hand or make a knife necessary. You will still need a steak knife for steak maybe, but we regularly use only a knork on chicken, pork chops, etc.

The reviews on Amazon mention rusting. Ours have never rusted over the years, but they are around 10 years old so there is a chance the quality has changed. Personally, I’m thrilled with ours and hope to buy four more some day.

Healthy Back Bag

eggplant colored "Healthy Back Bag"
This is the exact bag I bought myself.

I bought this to use as a purse a couple years ago. From the moment I opened the package, I fell in love, and I haven’t changed my mind since. The adjustable strap design allows me to throw the bag over my shoulder, or across my chest depending on what is more comfortable that day.

These bags have a wonderful assortment of pockets, both open and zippered, for organizing your stuff. After a ton of deliberation, I decided on the small size. I need plenty of space, but I didn’t want to be able to overload it and make it too heavy either. Extra small would likely have been fine, since I do tend to accumulate enough in mine to get a bit heavy on my shoulder. It’s really nice having that space available just in case I end up out and about for a longer day.

As you can see, it carries a good amount. Here is the inside of the main compartment.

Two pictures. One of the inside of my purse. One shows my love eyes emoji hand sanitizer holder.
At the top of the zipper, there is a place to hook stuff. I keep my memberships cards here. I also have some hand sanitizer attached to the zipper for easy use.

And here is everything that fits in each of those pockets.

A picture of a lot of junk from my purse. Includes my wallet, pens, two mini notebooks for blogging and medical notes, wrist warmers, nylon shopping bags, pill boxes and more.
Each pile is from a separate compartment.

This shows the outer zippered pocket and it’s contents.

Picture shows inside the outer pocket and the contents. Those include eye drops, travel hand cream, pill box, ear plugs and some mints.
That is one deep pocket.

The picture of the bag up top shows this zippered pocket. It’s large.

On the other side of the bag, there is another pocket that is just open with no closure. I usually stick my grocery list and phone in here. Sometimes my keys go in here, and other times I clip them on with my membership cards.

Finally, there is this nifty narrow, side zipped pocket on the opposite side from the main compartment zipper.

"Secret" pocket with my disability parking card and house key. House key is purple with butterflies and attached to a felt camper keychain that hides the key.
Like my camper key ring? It’s so cute! The key is attached to a leather cord that pulls the key into the camper pocket.

As you can see, my disability parking card and my key ring tuck way down into this pocket. You can hardly see it in there. I rarely need these things, but don’t want to be without them, so I keep them in this really cool compartment.

If I need to, I can still fit a water bottle and a couple of snacks into this bag. It will feel heavy, but it won’t be overstuffed for space. I seriously love this bag.

Wrist Warmers

I bought a couple different types, and used my loom to knit up another pair. The set I linked to here are the softer of the two I bought. I really love this brand and definitely recommend them.

Picture shows long purple wrist warmers with shiny black buttons edged in gold. They are lying on a shiny silver nylon mesh drawstring bag they came in. Next to them are the teal/gray short wrist warmers I knit.
I bought the purple wrist warmers, and made the teal/gray ones.

This is the pattern I used to loom knit my other faves. These are the ones I wear at night when my hands get cold. I also used this pattern to make Christmas gifts for many of the women in my life a couple of years ago. They are quick and easy to make. I almost forgot I knit a red set for my youngest. He uses them as gauntlets, and tells me they shoot fire. πŸ˜‰

I actually have some more favorite spoonie products I could add to this list, but the post is pretty darn long already. So, I’ll end this here, and follow-up with another like it if you all are interested. πŸ™‚

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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12 Extremely Useful Spoonie Cleaning Tips

I wrote a post with a few cleaning tips before, and enjoyed sharing some of the shortcuts I’ve found over the years. I recently had a request to share some more, and I was happy to compile another list of spoonie cleaning tips. These really work for anyone who wants to spend less time and energy on housework but, obviously, my fellow spoonies come to mind first. πŸ™‚

Picture of a Siamese cat on a backgroud of multiple shades of blue. White words say, "1 Day of cleaning. 1 week of recovery."
This is what we are trying to prevent!

Vacuuming

We need to vacuum our carpet almost daily, since we have three dogs and cats. We only vacuum the main part of the carpet though. Once a week we get more detailed, and get the edges with the hose.

Dusting

If you can afford it, buy the fluffy Swiffer dusters. They are the only thing I’ve found that actually pick up the dust rather than push it around. All other dusting methods leave me sneezing.

Use a microfiber cloth on a Swiffer broom to dust/remove cobwebs from walls. It has a 4 foot handle, so you can reach all the way up to most ceilings.

I use pressurized/canned air and a vacuum to get the assorted flotsam out of the keys of the keyboard (and from the inside of the computer tower). A Q-tip with alcohol can help remove any sticky spots, etc.

Laundry

Have you ever forgotten the laundry in the washer and found it a day or two later? Smelly laundry can be fixed by adding a cup or two of white vinegar to the load followed by a soak cycle. If you can, interrupt the cycle and leave it to soak an extra hour. Then resume and follow the soak with your usual wash cycle. Repeat if it doesn’t work the first time.

Black and white photo of a woman using a washtub on a table to do laundry outside.
Hey, it’s better than having to do it this way.

Toilet

We keep down stains and smells by swishing the toilet daily, which lets us only worry about a deep clean about once a month. I learned about toilet swishing from FlyLady. While most of her techniques don’t work for me, the toilet swishing has helped a lot. We keep a toilet brush by each toilet, stored in a container that can hold water. One of ours is in an old flour container, and one is in a vase. Just a little water and any type of soap in it then you can dunk your brush in it, and swish it around the toilet bowl.

 A chamber pot with a toilet brush in it.
(Pictured: A chamber pot with a toilet brush in it.) This is not what mine look like, but gives you an idea of what you can use.

Stains

Vinegar gets used quite a bit around here. Along with the cleaners I make with it, I also use it as a carpet stain remover. I dilute it in a spray bottle at about a 1:1 to 3:1 (water:vinegar) ratio with water. Then I spray it on the stain; soaking the carpet well. I let it sit a few minutes, and then blot it up. Repeat until most of the stain is gone. Then you can switch to scrubbing. If this doesn’t work, re-spray and sprinkle some baking soda on top. Let it bubble, and follow-up by scrubbing with a clean damp rag until rinsed. Let dry and vacuum the area.

Baking soda also works great to get into the small hollows of a textured counter top to help remove ground in dirt/stains. Mix enough water with it to make a “soft scrub” consistency (a paste) and scrub the counter. Leave for 5-15 minutes on any stains. Spray with vinegar for extra tough dirt. Then, wipe off and rinse thoroughly. I usually have to keep rinsing until my bare hand finally doesn’t feel the grit.

Magic Eraser is your friend. I find it useful in so many places.

  • Marks on walls (gently! you can remove paint if you scrub too hard)
  • Finger prints on doors
  • Tub and shower walls
  • Sinks
  • That weird baked on grease stuff on cookie sheets
  • Grease and grime build up on kitchen walls and cabinets. (It can dry out wood, so watch for that.)

Sippy cups

Have a sippy cup/thermos that was left too long? That smell is horrendous and can be really tough to get out. Before you just toss the cup, try this.

First I dump, rinse with hot water, and then fill with soapy water. Replace the lid and shake really well. Repeat and let sit 30 mins to an hour. Now, dump that water, and refill with very hot water and about a 1/4 cup baking soda. Replace the lid, shake, and let sit for a few hours.

If the cup is still smelly, rinse and fill with either full strength white vinegar or 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar and water. Let this sit a few more hours or overnight.

If the smell still isn’t gone at this point, you can keep repeating, but I usually give up and toss the cup. You fought a good fight. πŸ™‚

Miscellaneous Spoonie Cleaning Tips

Don’t feel you need to make your bed. According to researchers at Kingston University in England, making your bed holds in the humidity from you sleeping in it the night before which is the perfect environment for dust mites to breed. So, if you don’t want to make your bed, don’t. It will allow your bed to air out and might cut down on the dust mites. If you still want to make your bed, leave it to air out for an hour or so first.

Clorox wipes are another great multi-tool. We use them to wipe down sinks, counters, appliances, light switches, handles, door knobs, etc. Everything gets a swipe with them if we have an illness running through the house. (Very important tip for my fellow spoonies who have a weak immune system) Keep a container of these wipes near/under each sink and make it easy to wipe up spills, stains, etc as they come. One quick wipe is much easier to deal with rather than scrubbing later. Save those spoons!

Interested in some of those DIY cleaners I mentioned earlier? I’ve got the recipes for 5 of my favs typed up and ready for you to download. Just click on here for the cleaner recipes, and we’ll get you hooked up!

Well, that does it for this batch of spoonie cleaning tips! If you have a specific area of the house that you would like more tips for, drop me a note! I would really love to hear from you. πŸ™‚

Also, if you want to be sure to be notified when I post next, be sure to subscribe!

 

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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Brain Fog, Fatigue, and Pain: Confessions of a Chronically Ill Blogger

I’ve decided to start a monthly series here on Flawed, Messy Life. It’s called Confessions of a Chronically Ill Blogger, and I’ll share some of the challenges I face and how I deal with them. I’d like the share my journey of making my dream come true with all of you.

 

I’ve mentioned before that I have fibromyalgia, inflammatory arthritis, dysautonomia, depression and anxiety (generalized and social). Today I want to discuss how these affect me as a blogger. Since they have many overlapping symptoms that are the main issues, I decided to cover it by symptom rather than by condition.

Brain Fog

This is my most common problem. Even when everything else is behaving, brain fog is a frequent issue. Brain fog is a symptom of quite a few different conditions, and it goes along with all of mine. It really is foggy thinking or mental cloudiness as these pictures describe.

What is brain fog? It's trouble with concentraion, being easily distracted, word recall, and more.Brain Fog: Mental Cloudiness: confused, distracted

Brain fog for me is seeing the word or thought in my head and not having the capacity to verbalize or decipher it. I know it's there. I know what it is. I just can't reach it...Chronic "on the tip of my tongue" -Stephanie Becker-Wright
This quote on brain fog is fantastic. I’d describe it the same way.

You need ideas and words put together somewhat intelligently to compose a blog post. That isn’t an easy task with brain fog. Finding the right word for common objects is a challenge some days. I’ve lost the word for potholder, tea, cup, notebook, and many other simple objects before. I will again. Now imagine trying to get more complex ideas out of your head and onto paper. It just isn’t going to happen some days.

This is a huge hurdle when writing a blog. Of course I would rather be prepared for the times my brain fog drags out for days. To do so, I do as much writing as I can on my good days. I might manage to get 2-3 weeks of posts done in one week. This can help so I either don’t miss posting, or only miss one day if things get pretty bad. I also keep ideas ready that take minimal planning and brain power. Thankfully, I have awesome readers who understand when those tricks aren’t quite enough.

Fatigue

This is the next largest problem. Being able to think clear isn’t much good if you can’t stay awake. Fatigue is not the same as being tired. It is feeling like you are moving through cement. When you suffer from fatigue, you feel weighed down, like gravity is higher in your vicinity.

Defining Fatigue: Pathological and Psychological fatigue: The North American Nursing Diagnosis Association definition of fatigue is: "The self-recognized state in which an individual experiences an overwhelming sustained sense of exhaustion and decreased capacity for physical and mental work that is not relieved by rest."
A good definition of fatigue.
Fatigue Scale
This shows how fatigue and the resulting brain fog can vary.

Fatigue means I will suddenly not be able to stay awake. I have no choice in the matter. A nap will happen.

Nap Attack: They Can Happen at Any ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I’ll still manage some writing if this is my only problem. It might not be something new, but I can type up a draft already written up in my notebook, or I’ll proofread and add on to a first draft saved on the computer. I try to manage at least a little progress on these days.

Pain

While pain can bring on fatigue and brain fog, on its own pain is actually the easiest symptom for me to deal with. Brain fog and fatigue are all-consuming and demand your attention. Pain, I can distract myself from.

With some pain pills, music, or just writing a blog post I can many times find some tactics, or a combination of them, to distract myself and accomplish something. Again, the only works if the pain hasn’t worn me out already and caused the fatigue and brain fog to set in.

So, those are the three main obstacles I have as a chronically ill blogger. My posting schedule has to work around my brain fog, fatigue, and pain. It’s an extra challenge, but I feel it is worth it. My anxiety and depression are different animals, and I’ll address them in another post in this series.

Much love to you all and thank you for being a part of this.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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Pain Is Not A Competition

“Pain is not a competition. Just because someone, somewhere may have had worse in their life, it doesn’t excuse or erase your pain.”Β 

Pain is not a competition. Just because someone, somewhere may have had worse in their life, it doesn't excuse or erase your pain.

This quote has meant so much to me over the past couple of years. I feel it applies to everyone, no matter what kind of physical, mental, or emotional pain they may have.

Pain is pain

If you are affected by depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, you may have a tendency to feel your condition isn’t as bad compared to other people. In fact, I had no idea how bad my depression had gotten this last time. I slowly got used to the “new normal” of each decline farther into depression, and compared myself to others who I saw as “worse off”. Given those goal posts, I just didn’t think my depression was that bad. People struggling with mental illness or emotional pain can also feel their struggles aren’t important because they are told so. Have you been told to suck it up, because others are worse off? The fact is, everyone’s feelings and thoughts matter. Even though there may be people worse off, it doesn’t negate your struggle.

People with chronic pain or illnesses find themselves in the same position. Their friends and/or family, not to mention society, are not very supportive. So many people in this position are demoralized by being told their pain isn’t enough. They are told to “suck it up” because someone else judges their condition to not be severe enough.

It isn’t an exclusive membership

As a member of both groups, I’m telling you that your pain counts even if you aren’t in either group. Β The only person you should ever compare yourself to is yourself. Even then, sometimes you should just focus on how you feel in the moment. If you think it is bad, then it is, and you should have compassion for yourself, and care for yourself.

This is why comparing pain can be so detrimental to your health. If it leads you to putting off care, that is a bad thing. Please don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Your health and happiness is important. It is just as important as the next person.

Do you have a quote that means a lot to you, or has gotten you through hard times? Please feel free to share in the comments. I would love to hear from you. ❀

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