I'm still in hospital and made some bunting both for myself and for another patient. We are all in our own rooms and isolated from our 'neighbours'. Until now we have been able to decorate our rooms however we like, for many long term patients it means sticking things on the wall with blutac or hanging a picture of their choice on the wall. For me, I peg cards people kindly send me onto my curtains. It brings comfort and is something nice to look at.
My friend Jessica is being admitted, Jessica spent a long time in here (years) and had the most amazing room with a HUGE Johnny Depp, paintings which she did herself and lots of stars going up a wall. Stars are her thing of comfort, they give her hope and strength. I got some star lights and a little chain with stars on (meant for a Christmas tree). She was going to arrive to a room with stars but that has been banned, instead she will be admitted to a clinical looking room.
I sometimes write letters or things to people as a form of therapy, I won't send it and the last thing I need is to get an argumentative or difficult reputation over a few triangles of paper so instead I will just leave it as an open letter, never to be seen by those involved but off my chest!
What have you seen today?
You woke up in your bedroom, bleary eyed until things came into focus. You probably walked to the kitchen, the bathroom and passed through other rooms, you opened the curtains and saw today it is cloudy, there's a slight mist and the grass is damp, a bird flies past the window as your looking out. Maybe you see your loved ones and pets.
You rush off to work, getting in your car and traveling a distance, there are other motorists, you pass houses and shops, pedestrians- the old man walking his dog and the young child off to school, you drive past trees, grass, big buildings, flowers and cafes.
Once at work you greet colleagues, grab paperwork, take the stairs or lift and start your working day, after your shift you do all that you did in the morning but in reverse.
What have I seen today?
Today is a good day as a result I have seen 8 walls, that's 4 more than I have seen in the past and indeed 4 more than many of other ill people get to see. I have a window but can't look out, is the sky blue today or is it cloudy? Are flowers in bloom or have the leaves on the trees started to turn to shades of amber? I simply don't know. My phone vibrates, a text from my loved ones, we try to have a conversation but give up as the signal is too poor. I'm greeted by staff who are dear to me but I don't see my parents. I wheel into the bathroom, a different 4 walls which is nice but no hint of the outside world, I still don't know what colour the sky is today. Back in bed I lay on my right side, even in the dim light I can make out the butterfly pattern on my wall, butterflies are my sign of hope, at home I have them dotted all around my room. I dream of the day I break out of my chrysalis. It's tiring keeping my eyes open so I spend most of the time with them closed, still facing the wall I know the picture is like the stars, 'they are there even when you can't see them'. In the afternoon I lay on my other side, from here I can see the cards on my wall, a connection to the outside world, a connection to friends. I look at the picture a little boy drew me and smile while remembering the great day I once spent with him. I look at a card from my best friend and think of her, hopefully we will manage to talk in the next couple of days. Next I see a card from Tori, its a picture she has taken, I think of all those years she spent bedbound and completely paralysed, I love how she is now able to take pictures outside of the house. Again I close my eyes.
Later symptoms hit me really hard, it feels unbearable to be inside my own body, I lock my eyes on a hanging shimmery star and focus hard, willing my mind to escape reality and it helps a bit.
The world is a beautiful place, for those of us though who can't be out there we have to live in the world of one room and try our best to make this small confining world a beautiful place we are happy to be in.