It’s been interesting to watch able-bodied people learn how to cope with isolation, something us house and bedbound people have been dealing with for years. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it makes me want to shout from the rooftops, “See, this is how it feels to live in a cage.” I don’t though, because that would likely be frowned upon and I like to stay peaceful, so I retreat to my happy place. Self-isolating for me is nothing new, nor typically intentional, but it’s my life. Just like able-bodied people don’t like being stuck at home, I never wanted it either so I can relate to their angst. Interestingly though, now that able-bodied people have shifted over to my housebound-seat for the time being, I have shifted over another seat myself.
You might think, oh well you were already at home, what’s the difference. While the differences vary from person to person, for me there have been many, including ones that reach far beyond isolation. For one, the fallout from the pandemic means I can no longer order my food online (I’m unable to drive), none of the grocery deliverers in my area are delivering to my home at this time. Luckily my son and partner can still go to the store for me because I honestly have no idea what I’d do, but I feel guilty making them search for things only I’m able to eat so I try to keep the lists as short and as necessary as possible. On top of that, little to none of the non-dairy, gluten free, organic foods I can tolerate are available. Needless to say, my tummy has turned into a full-fledged Karen and would almost constantly like to ‘have a word with the manager’. I’m also having to push necessary doctor’s appointments way out, which hopefully won’t have any long-term repercussions. And I’m using extra energy all over the place on all kinds of things, which I don’t have to spare, lots on stress and anxiety, which leads to a worsening of my chronic illnesses. Folks, I’m exhausted on a soul level. Additionally, my son still must work; he’s around lots of people, and every day when he walks in the house, I think please don’t let this be the day he brings it home. We’re doing all the right things, washing hands, leaving shoes by the door, staying in separate rooms, wiping things down, but there’s only so much you can control. And if that’s not enough my partner is working from home, which is great, it really is, but it means someone is always here. I’m not getting the normal 40+ hours of quiet time I normally got, and everyday I can feel myself getting more and more exhausted.
So, it’s not just you able-bodied folks that have had to feel inconvenienced by the pandemic, it is us chronically ill too. You might be thinking, I never said you weren’t disrupted, nope maybe you didn’t. But did you reach out to someone you know that’s housebound and ask how you can help? Have you offered to share your food or toilet paper with them? Now that you have a glimpse into the reality of the housebound, can you carry your compassion with you going forward? Nobody ever wanted this pandemic, but you know what, nobody ever wanted to be housebound either. When this is over you will shift back over to your original seat, and hopefully so will we, but will you hold extra empathy in your heart for those of us who live this way? For those of us for whom there is no bailout, no unemployment, no answers, no cure? When we shift seats back, can we agree that you’ll never say to someone who is housebound, “I’d love to stay home all day too?”
Thank you for stopping in today! A few more doodles below (some are reposts), as well as a link to a previous post on things you can do to entertain yourself while at home. Hoping that today brings you moments of peacefulness, and even some smiles. Please take good care of not only your physical health, but your mental health too. 🌼