This is Where I Slept
I played a lot of video games while I was bedridden. Mostly survival horror. I’d start off playing them as intended – gathering supplies, crafting tools and shelter, hunting monsters and going on gritty adventures. But eventually it would get too hard, or I’d get bored, and that’s when I’d turn on admin cheats and really get into it.
I spent most of those 18 months building cute little cottages, rearing virtual animals, and tending digital gardens. If I was feeling adventurous I’d take my avatar for a long walk through the visually stunning environments that some game designer far away had thought up.
Most days it was a struggle to walk down the hall to the bathroom, but digitally I could visit snow-capped mountains, tropical islands, and expansive, shimmering deserts.
My bedside at that time was my whole world. It was cluttered, overfull, confused. Game controllers, meds, water, chuck bucket, books, notepads, fidget toys, more meds, heat packs and tissues and snacks … It was claustrophobic. Four walls closing in. So I’d turn to the virtual mountains, and try to breathe.
I write in the past tense, as if it’s over, but it’s not. Not really. I’m always on the edge. I’ve swapped digital making for analogue (which I enjoy much more), but I still spend most of my time in bed. I call it ‘housebound’ now instead of ‘bedridden’, a sign of hope more than realism.
But I don’t mind being in my bedroom now. I don’t mind being in bed. Because there are moments outside of bed, too. Mornings in the living room with a crochet project and a coffee. Dining room permanently set up as a sewing space. Chuck bucket back in the laundry, where it belongs, instead of living by my bed.
Still cluttered, yes, but not overfull, confused. Not claustrophobic. I can walk down the hallway and out the back door, and breathe.