Image Title: A so-called silver lining
Image Copyright: Paula Knight, 2019
Image Description: Shiny chrome commode casting light onto bedroom walls.
See how it gleams, ever-present in the corner of my bedroom. My throne! I can see it shine from the corner of my eye. It’s a veritable triumph of structural engineering enabling me to maintain some dignity while unable to walk to my own bathroom a few feet away. How I savour the intimacy that comes from my husband lifting me out of bed to use it – if only I was able to sit up by myself to do so. As it happens, I have to lean against him while my body struggles with basic functions. So much for dignity.
I’ve been bedbound for two-and-a-half years as a result of severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I also live with chronic pain and have been coming to terms with disability over the past three years.
There’s a psychological school of thought around so-called medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) that chronic illness and disability provide ‘secondary gains’ – such as specialist equipment, for example. How anyone could theorise that I would choose this situation for myself is beyond me.