The dynamics of my home have changed.
I used to live in a small, 2 bedroom flat on the 1st floor of a block in a small court at the Southern end of Bletchley in Milton Keynes, just up the road from the Bletchley Park of Enigma code-breaking machine fame. It was just the right size for me and my best friend, K, to co-habit peacefully yet maintain our own private spaces. It was cosy.
Geographically, I remain on the 1st floor in a court just up the road from Bletchley Park, of Enigma fame. There are, however, no longer 2 bedrooms. Since K and I got together some 5 months ago, we have discussed getting rid of the 2nd bedroom and giving me somewhere to write and us both somewhere to use the computer and to have a desk for all the usual house-hold administration-type stuff which was taking over our table in our lounge/diner.
While I was in hospital over the last two weeks, K took it upon herself to enlist the help of some very good friends of ours to transform her old bedroom into our newly formed study/library. Out with the bed, the chest of drawers and the telly and in with the bookcase, a desk and chair and a lava-lamp (for good creative-juice flow) along with a filing cabinet and desk-drawer unit for storage. A perfect little work-hole for both of us.
But that’s not the significant change.
What’s changed is that far from being a small, cosy little flat, when I returned from hospital I discovered my home to be a vast expanse of space around which is had become necessary not to pop from room to room, but to hike breathlessly between oxygen stations.
I spoke previously of the adaptations I’m having to make following my recent challenges and down-turns in health and this is simply another one, but it’s one I have to confess I didn’t see coming. I love my flat – I love it all the more now I’m sharing it increasingly with K, who is slowly moving herself back across from her parents’ house – and I just never thought that somewhere this compact and beautifully self-contained could present these sorts of challenges.
I now have oxygen piped into every room of the apartment, but it still necessitates switching from supply to supply between rooms, with O2 support-less journeys between piping points. Whereas I used to merrily flitter away all over the flat, tootling back and forth between kitchen and lounge and bedroom as many times as my delightfully dimwitted brain would require before collecting all the bits I’d need for, say, doing a nebuliser, I now find that forgetting an element of the cocktail requires a 5 minute break before setting out to correct the mistake.
K is doing amazingly at running around after my forgetfulness, but it’s infuriating to me that I can’t do the simple things without gasping for air, that checking on dinner in the oven requires preparation, precision movement and a recuperation period.
I know it’s something I’ll get used to, just the same way as I’m slowly getting used to sleeping with my NIV, the way I’m getting used to wearing my O2. I’ve adapted in the past; even as recently as September I learnt how to budget my time so that I had the energy to do the things that matter most and not waste my daily or weekly quota on frivolous or unnecessary things.
And I know I’ll adapt to my new home, too.
Already, I’m loving my study (our study) and my brain is starting to whirl with possibilities of new scripts and projects and ideas – seemingly freed by the knowledge that if I so desire, I can shut myself away from the rest of the world and tap at my keyboard 24/7 until my masterpiece emerges.
After all, they say if you give a infinite amount of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, they’ll eventually turn out the Complete Works of Shakespeare. I just need my new lungs to give me that little bit more time to bash at the keys and see if I can’t luck into Hamlet.