Hey swap family! So in the Pay It Forward thread I mentioned I would offer up a "spoonie staycation" themed grab bag surprise goodie bag and several people asked me for examples of what I would put in such a bag (spoonie is a term to describe anyone with chronic illness or chronic pain etc).
So I thought I would share some of the items I put in @annaz
's spoonie grab bag (don't worry, she knows, its not ruining any surprises) for her friend, and give some other ideas, to spark the imagination for those interested in creating their own spoonie goodie bags for forum friends or others:
cc: @Cara0730 @LisaMarie @Airian @Shelby18 @Natt @janemockingjay @CaitieLou @chris444 @SMZ @Grishma @bria @Dawn
The explanations/instructions for the items are just as important as the items themselves, btw:
a little tub of natural aloe skin balm- you'll see a little green balm in the package and it is a hero balm that works like Vaseline meets Neosporin and can be put on bug bites, sunburns, cooking burns (great for burns) or after care for after a tattoo or, more importantly for your spoonie friend: on areas of unbroken skin (not open wounds) where you may have had rough surgical tape removed like from IVs for example, and your skin got rashy or red and sensitive from it , apply right after tape removal, to soothe
eco tools face mask remover pads-this is great for easily removing a face mask in case you can't stay at the sink or take a bath etc and still need to relax with a face mask in bed, at home, or in hospital.
bright pink nail polish - okay, so I always include, along with dry shampoo, wipes, face scrubbers etc, in my hospital bag: a bright colored nail polish. I paint my toenails or ask a family member/friend to paint my toenails with the bright color, so that even after days in the hospital, I wake up every day to a bright color as my toes greet me instead of the dreary hospital walls - its a reminder to myself to keep the joy and brightness in me alive no matter where I am or how I am feeling (it is important to tie this idea to the nail polish so each time your spoonie friend sees the color, it makes her smile and gives her an instinctive reminder that there is brightness)
a retro/pop art necklace: in your bag there is a necklace of two fists side by side together with a red painted thumbnail showing (clearly indicating its female fists) and it is called "the fighter" necklace. keep this or give it to a friend as a reminder to always keep fighting and that you/she IS a feminine fighter
This does not have to be this kind of necklace, but the point is something tangible that can be worn to give a reminder of strength and principle that matters: a reminder in times of deep pain that something exists within you and your character- and in your existence- that is bigger than pain. That you are more than your illness/physicality. For example, I am saving up to get this Dogeared necklace for a spoonie friend, that is a heart with a winky face:http://www.dogeared.com/winky-face-engraved-heart-necklace,-gold-dipped/844923050519.html#sz=36&start=109
The friend I want to get it for is someone who I have told my absolute favorite thing about her is the way she will always laugh at a silly joke or stupid pun NO MATTER what position she is in or how bad she feels. She once had a sibling lost to suicide and I made a very inappropriate "way too soon" kind of morbid joke/pun that was one of those "not sure i should laugh at this but damn it is actually really clever" kind of jokes and she BUSRT out laughing- while she still even had tears in her eyes. And another time SHE made a very unexpected joke with a super cheeky grin, when she was in a hospital bed and got very bad news and she giggled despite being in ALOT of very deep pain that wasn't going away anytime soon. So the thing I love about her is her ability to always stay warm to joy. To always invite light in even when surrounded by the darkness. Because she didn't just TOLERATE the humor, she embraced it. So it was more than just having a sense of humor: it was what I call "staying warm to joy" actually INVITING delight and joy into your life at all stages of life no matter what. And that is what that heart with a wink face represents to me and what I will explain to my friend if I can ever get it someday. And she can wear it and whenever she feels the weight of it on her chest/neck, she'll remember to smile. She will remember her cheeky heart that is warm to joy, always.
So my biggest suggestion is to find something tangible and make it a symbol of something intangible that is important and/or comforting to your spoonie friend. That is the best thing you can put in a spoonie surprise bag for a friend I think. (I am also saving to get the Dogeared unicorn necklace someday too, to remind myself that: "life is magical")