As a new day dawns and I open my eyes, I look upon a world in painless surprise. A smile creeps across my hopeful face as I lie in bed, my comfy place. A tentative move; a testing stretch but then comes a cough and my face is etched with pain, like a stalker in darkened streets as I grudgingly rise to my unsteady feet. Reaching to grab at the windowsill and holding tight as my world starts to spill. The roulette wheel of my head spins out, should I call for help; should I cry or shout? The room soon returns to a stable state and the fireworks are gone, the pressure abates. ‘Survived again!’ I smugly smile and yet, “I’ll give it a little while”. By now the pain in my body has reached a point where I’m already feeling beached as I reach for the table and struggle with the lid on my boxes of pills; “I tried - you know I did”. An hour has passed and the pains have eased though my mind is hazy and twinges still tease. It’s time to get up now and start my day, gently, slowly and in my own way. If I can just get dressed, I say to myself, try not to look like I just fell off a shelf. Another long hour has breathlessly passed but I’m dressed and looking presentable at last. “I’ll just have a minute to catch my breath”, such a simple task but it’ll soon be my death. “A quick half-hour, I’ll just close my eyes”, I wake an hour later with familiar surprise. Now for the next act in the play of my life, can I be bothered, it’s on the edge of a knife. Waiting for the pain to stab and to punch as the world outside is just breaking for lunch. Time for my pills, my mid-day dose, where’s my inhaler, I must keep it close. Back on my feet and heading for the door, from room to room is an exhausting chore. Heart is racing, breath coming fast but I’ve reached my chair, I can rest at last. “I’ll just have half an hour, let tumult recede, then try to do some writing or have a read”. Another hour lost and I’m startled some more, the doorbell is ringing, someone at the door. I rise and head with unsteady gait to the mirror to check my mask is straight. A familiar voice I can hear down the hall, the letterbox opens and I hear his sweet call. “It’s me, Granddad!” with his usual glee, “I’m coming!” I shout and my smile is now real. I open the door and he runs at full pelt, one of the many who make my heart melt. “I’ve got some new toys Granddad, come and see!” “Give me a chance, you’re faster than me!” Back in the living room and gasping for air, I need my inhaler and also my chair. An hour of fun-filled laughter and toys, moments so precious, of heart lifting joy. Time to go home, “Come and see me again?” “I will do, Granddad, I’ll see you then!” A kiss and a hug and last wave goodbye as he heads off home, winking his eye. Heading for the bedroom and my evening meds, “I’ll just have an hour and rest my legs”. I open my eyes and it’s dark, what a shock, with blurry eyes I search for the clock. Three hours have passed, I must have been weary. I’m a bit disappointed because now it is nearly time for bed, I’d better get undressed but I need to tidy up, the house is a mess. Frustration is now my permanent guest, of all those I have, it’s the one I like least. I accede to a life I no longer control, declining health is now taking its toll. I get ready for bed and take off my mask, another tiring and laborious task. My head hits the pillow and I’m left with my dreams Where I can run and play and live with such ease Dreams of a life that I’ll never reclaim, condemned to a life of frustration and pain. Morning arrives as I wake with new hope that maybe today I’ll be able to cope. * Written by Darren Scanlon, 31st August 2014. Revised by Darren Scanlon, 4th June 2015. ©2015 Darren Scanlon. All rights reserved.