Housebound, or if you prefer house bound, I don’t care which as the meaning is simple isn’t it, isn’t it? Well to me it is it means never leaving my home, a simple fact nothing difficult there, but it appears I am wrong in my belief. It surprises me how many people think that housebound means you can’t go out without a wheelchair or walker, some think it means that you can’t go out shopping, socializing or to the doctors, and other still that it means being unable to go out without a carer. It appears that the dictionary definition of ‘unable to leave one’s home due to illness or injury’ is open to a lot of interpretation.
I never really thought about being housebound, I knew that our home would cause problems as our flat is on the second floor. Not once when I was still able to walk did any medical professional tell me that it was highly likely that my walking would become so bad, that I would not be able to get up and down the stairs. I suspect I am a long way from the only person who has MS or any other progressive illness, who thought my illness could ever progress so quickly. In my head I thought it would take at least another 10 years for me to be in the position I am now. I thought at this point in time I would still be able to get out of my home and still be working. I had a slight plan that we would sell and move long before I was trapped. Because I was never told this could happen, I didn’t even consider it as a possible fact, if I had known I would have planned and done things very differently. The physical location of my home is only point one that defines housebound, but move me out of here and locate me in what might be considered more suitable accommodation and I still wouldn’t be able to leave my home.
The second hurdle is fatigue, I haven’t been dressed for nearly 5yrs now, I don’t get dressed as that simple process is exhausting, I wear nightgowns and dressing gowns, nothing more complex. To get myself ready to leave the house would land me back in bed, doubly exhausted as I would have to somehow get the clothes off again. Before anyone start shouting that a carer could dress me, it would make no difference. I am not sure how to explain to someone able bodied, a possible but poor comparison might be that of having a really bad, and I do mean really bad, flu, not a bad cold. If you have ever had that illness, remember how hard and tiring it was to just get out of bed, could you have managed to got ready, even with help, to go out. Imagine that all the time, then start adding in the pain, the lack of dexterity and difficulty of working arms and legs that are both week and painful. Not being able to get ready to go out is qualification two.
I am going to bundle in some small things together as qualification three but many would put them as individual one to paint a richer picture. I am simply going to say read through my posts and note all the daily issues form double incontinence onwards, the fatigue of being around people and trying to be social acceptable and polite as you cringe through the pain.
Point four and my final one, MS is nasty for a lot of reasons but it like to add it’s own cruel twists as well. If somehow I have managed to go through and get past the above and I have been out there going where ever, and then getting home again, MS will make me suffer. It will take me days and days to get over it, I will have no energy, more pain, total brain fog, no ability to do anything but sit like a zombie, with no idea how long it will take to feel myself again. My speech will be erratic if I can even find the words, communication to exhausting to bother with. So is it worth going out, is it a viable and sensible thing to do, or has MS made it impossible to leave my home for any reason. To me and to Adam as he has seen it all over the years, for any quality of life I have no choice but to stay where I am and embrace the world I have. This is housebound, no popping out to the shops or a friends for coffee, no way of getting out and back without collapse. Put someone who is housebound anywhere in the world and it will make no difference they can’t go out to see it, that is housebound.