There is a relationship in my life that I have never talked about out loud or really admitted to myself how important it actually is. As I am writing this, I am not even sure I want to go public with it. The moment it goes public it becomes real and I might need to face just another part of my life that is ever changing and evolving with cancer, the pandemic and just reaching new stages of aging.
This relationship is with my bed(s). My first bed was purchased for me when I came home from the hospital. My mobility issues didn’t allow me to come back to my own room upstairs with Al and instead my family spent weeks crafting me a space (which I called Karla’s Klubhouse) downstairs where I would be comfortable and have easy access to everything I would need.
This bed was my safe space for 6 months until we all agreed I needed to move back to my marital bed and sleep with Al and try and normalize my life. (My klubhouse is for another story, as I believe I have some residual effects of being there and being so sick. My dad slept beside me for 6 months and kept me calm, sane and protected.)
My new martial bed was soon bought after it was decided that it was time for me to move back to our bedroom.
My relationship began with my current bed as soon as it moved in. It is one of those beds with automatic controls to move it into different positions. It goes from flat to zero gravity (which sounds a bit cooler than it is. Really it is just a gimmick where both the back and front come up and create less pressure on a person’s back.) It also goes into my favourite position with just the back up. This makes my TV viewing, nature watching, book reading and iPad use easier and more comfortable, as this is now a good portion of my daily activities.
I am very grateful for my bed and thankful Al saw it as a necessity for a person who sleeps a lot and has chronic pain. I would describe my bed as a magical element that lulls me to sleep, is comfort in times of sadness, and is always there for me. It is a big security blanket. It is a place where I can get comfy and read my books and escape into the worlds I read about. It is a place where the distraction of movies and shows is created in a VIP setting where I am pampered and taken care of. It is the bed where the dogs surround me and cuddle with me and all five can be with me as I nap in the afternoons.
Now, it is bed that Al can read his book in at night or watch his game in comfort. It is where we share moments of joy alongside sadness and frustration at my illness. We talk at night and share a giggle of our dogs or over something funny we read about or saw in old reruns of Seinfeld.
But … As much as my bed is my protector and my safe space it also is my enemy.
It keeps me isolated. It gives me an excuse for saying no to things. It keeps me dependent on it. It has an invisible chain tied to me where if I get too far from it, it yanks on my stomach and increases my pain. I no longer feel like I can recognize my own pain and instead feel like my bed and brain are in cahoots to take control over my mind to force me back to bed unnecessarily. It controls me and makes me yearn for when we can be together again and leads me to believe I only exist as I am because it exists alongside me.
I know it is just a bed. And I tell myself I need to stop giving an inanimate object space in my psyche as if it has control, feelings or can actually make decisions for me or alter my body and thoughts. It is not my bed that is putting those messages into my head. It is my fear, my anxiety and my depression. It is my frustration over living in chronic illness and my mind forgetting what it was like to live before it. It is the fear that battles my hope.
But today is a new day and by writing this I am taking a courageous step to say this: My bed is no longer my crux. I no longer will put it on a pedestal. It is just a bed.
A very nice bed, but still just a bed.