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Ideas for a "Spoonie" themed grab bag for a friend w chronic pain or illness

ArianaAriana Posts: 232Member
edited October 13 in Reference
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:,-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")


  • mini2zmini2z Posts: 2,353Member
    edited October 13
    Im a Spoonie myself and things I have in my hospital go bag is a toiletry bag with all the basics because you always forget something, moisturizer, chapstick, my mophie power bank (waiting in the ER can get boring for hubby) I have lightweight throw(cuyana Turkish towel) gin gins hard candy (they help with my nausea) ginger, bottle of water, my spare 17oz swell bottle, hand sanitizer and hand cream both unscented, colouring book, pencils/markers, crossword puzzle, sea bands (also for nausea)

    A lot of my go bag items are actually from an amazing swapper who added them as extras

    I also have an extra t-shirt, a lightweight hoodie and an extra pair of undies and a pair of socks and those slippers from LLB that are fluffy but they have grins so I dont fall on my tush

    Spoonie Essentials Box (it’s pricy) but if you look at some of the items you can get an idea on extras

    ETSY has a gazillion Spoonie gear from bracelets with little spooons to t-shirts - on my wishlist is one about my hero Zofran (anti-nausea meds)
  • EddyEddy Posts: 218Member
    I was laid up for a few months after a major surgery a couple of years ago. There is nothing so frustrating as being unable to bend/move and having something fall off the bed/lap. To help with this, I used glossyboxes for small items such as chapsticks, gin gins, pill bottles etc.; items that I wanted to have nearby. So my suggestion is to include a small pretty box.

    What a lovely thread!
  • belliumbellium Posts: 918Member
    hair ties and/or headbands, lip balm, hand cream, slippers or socks (or slipper socks!),and maybe a bookmark - i read a lot of books when i’m hospitalized.
  • whitpickwhitpick Posts: 1,193Member
    @Ariana thank you so much for sharing your story and starting this thread! I have a chronic pain condition and it's so inspiring to connect with others in similar boats. This forum is just the best :)
  • annazannaz Posts: 248Member
    @Ariana and everyone else who suggested ideas, you are all the best!! Can't express how grateful I am for great ideas for my best friend who suffers from chronic fatigue along with constant fevers and vertigo/presyncope. She's in her late 20s and had to quit her job in a big city and her grad school dreams to move back home with her parents. As I'm sure fellow spoonies can relate to, she is missing out on family gatherings and events like weddings/reunions with friends. She's also really worried dating and a fulfilling career will never be a part of her life.

    I second @whitpick that this forum community is the best <3
  • LoveIsACountryLoveIsACountry Posts: 3Member
    What a sweetheart you are! I'm a spoonie and I know how hard it is to find a friend who cares and understands.

    My favorite part is the polish! I ALWAYS wear glitter polish before I go in for surgery. They say don't wear polish but too bad, I always do. I once had the sweetest nurse give me a mani/pedi while I was stuck in the hospital. I remember it t o this day because it meant so much.

    The jewelry is a good idea, but if she doesn't wear jewelry (I don't when I'm sick) or is afraid of losing it, might I suggest a small (but cute) picture frame. I love to keep a pic of my two cats with me in the hospital. A frame is a nice way to make the hospital feel like home (and make home feel homier).

    Anyway, your friend is lucky to have you.

    Can I have the name of that green cream? Tape irritates my skin so badly!!

    Best to you and her,
  • LisaMarieLisaMarie Posts: 743Member
    What a great thread and so many wonderful ideas! I think spongelles are great for when one arm is limited with an IV and the nice scent is an added bonus.
  • entwashianentwashian Posts: 1,826Member
    @mini2z a power bank is a great idea! I would never have thought of that!

    The only things I can think of that I see haven't been mentioned are body wipes, for when bathing is too difficult/not an option, and protein/meal replacement bars or healthy snacks for when cooking is too difficult/not an option.
  • briabria Posts: 384Member
    I really love this thread!! My best friend was in an accident and had her 4 front teeth knocked out. At the time of her accident we didn't know each other well (I just met her), but when I heard about the accident I sent her flowers and a box full of spoonie-type items and little notes. I have no idea what I put in that box and it couldn't have cost very much because I was really young (it was truly the thought that counts!)... But 20 years later my (now) best friend still talks about that time I sent her a spoonie box. To me it was such a little thing, but I didn't realise it would mean so much to her, and that small thing started a friendship I cherish dearly. Just wanted to say you are all so sweet and kind to be making these spoonies for your friends!! They are lucky to have you.
  • mini2zmini2z Posts: 2,353Member
    These were included in one of my SEB boxes - shower wipe
    I’m scent sensitive and these are okay

    Gift cards for meals, pan of lasagne for the family, offer to vacuum (my 2 SIL’s were amazing during our flood) any cleaning really - it’s hard when you can’t do what used to be so easy

    I keep a stash of food I can eat like granola bars, fruit cups, sour gummies (sour stuff helps my nausea) water, G2

    Also a hot water bottle & some sort of an ice pack
  • rambletamblerambletamble Posts: 151Member
    I always take a black Sharpie with me when I go into the hospital (or on a trip). You never know when you will need to tag your stuff. Many times the nurse aides take your water pitcher and refill it outside your room. If you mark your pitcher, you’ll know for sure you are getting your same pitcher back. For privacy, I recommend using your initials or room number.
  • GrishmaGrishma Posts: 1,905Member
    Thanks for the tag @Ariana. I hope my contribution below is a bit helpful. I’m not sure if I know much or have a lot of helpful suggestions:
    1. Hot and cold pack/patch
    2. Volcanic oil (I have heard they are good topical solution for pain in shallow areas)
    3. Warm socks or woolen pillow cases (I have wanted these during my infrequent hospital visits). On similar lines, maybe heated blankie or mitts?
    4. I’ve read about some people opting for long hot tub soaks after spending time in the hospital to soothe the muscles and alleviate a bit of pain. A sink cap helps add 3-4 inches of water to the tub so the whole body can be as submerged in water as possible.

    Again, I really hope some of this is helpful for the brave spoonies out there.
  • MeshaMesha Posts: 111Member
    I can tell you as a chronic pain sufferer myself that CVS brand Cold and Hot spray works miles better then anything else except for the Natural Touch Sports Muscle Rub but that one can be expensive. Those would be nice additions. I also enjoy those hot / cold packs that can go in the microwave. Lavender aromatherapy items for relaxation would be great to include. Dry shampoo and body wipes can be a godsend on the days that you can't get out of bed. Swell bottles would be great to keep water handy and nice and cold for hours on end without spillage. Finally a bed caddy to help corral remotes etc would probably be a hit.
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