Phyllis Griffiths

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Bedridden is not a very enjoyable way to be.. I don't wish it on anyone. I hate the term, bedridden, so much I much rather just say I'm housebound instead... even though I spend most of my awake time with my butt glued to a chair or a couch. Chair-ridden... that's me... not wheelchair bound, as I walk around inside my house as much as I can. I guess I'm stubborn that way. I don't have a laptop, nor a phone jack in my room. Some days I would like it if I did. I have a comfy armchair in front of my computer. Often I get to this chair and then spend hours here as I can't get up from it. If I'm too dizzy to sit up, I just don't do email.

If I get too dizzy to sit up, I recline on the couch and hope to see something on TV that I can follow. If I can't do that I crawl back into bed. Bed is boring. Too sick to read... alone in my room... unable to sleep what's a person to do? That boredom is hard... the mind wanders... and worry sets in. I worry and I fret. I feel helpless. I feel hopeless. So as soon as I can I crawl down the stairs and back to my computer... so I can distract myself and keep my mind from wandering onto those ever-present fears and doubts. But even this piecework computer of mine is a luxury that I am unsure I can afford. My lifeline to the outer world takes care and feeding... and the phone line and ISP costs aren't easy to manage each month.

Sometimes I get out of the house. I have to shop for groceries and that means walking sometimes. I can do the local market on my scooter, but in order to afford to eat well means going to a warehouse store to buy in bulk the stuff we use all the time. My scooter doesn't fit in our small car with room for groceries too. I had a big day the other day - was able to go out on my scooter for the first time in nearly two months. It was the first time in nearly two months that I was able to poke around the local thrift shops either. I splurged on myself.. I found a purple sweat shirt/pants combo for $6.50.. one that was the right size and in next to new condition. I was wearing a pair of purple sweat pants with holes in the legs and a rather threadbare and coffee stained sweatshirt that day. Most of my clothes are shabby and worn... and this outfit was a treasure to find. I felt guilty for buying it... but I love wearing it. It's soft and comfy... and has no holes!

Funny how such little things have come to mean so very much to me. A birthday card from a friend had me beaming in happiness the rest of the day it came.

I have down days and I have up days... moods and mobility vary. Somedays I can't walk across a room but I feel happy none the less. Otherdays I can putter around on my feet for an hour or so but I feel weighed down inside as if the burden of the world were on my shoulders alone. When I can get a day of mobility and of good cheer together... the world is bright and I feel wonderful. When I have double down days... I just want to crawl in a hole and not come out.

I don't think that I will ever be able make the fear go away and stay away. It's always there, lurking... waiting to swell up again. It swells up on those days when I can't do anything but lie in bed and stare at the walls... fear of isolation, fear of being forgotten and abandoned... fear of being homeless, fear of so many things.... I don't fear being ill forever as much as I fear all I might yet lose because I cannot earn the money needed to save it. I cannot let myself be bedridden... or I am alone in my room, ignored and helpless. Out of sight is out of mind. No one checks on me there... no one asks if I need anything. No one sees to my needs. Sometimes not even a cat keeps me company. I cannot take being bedridden. So I struggle to my chair, and then cannot get up.

© Phyllis Griffiths, 1998

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