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The power to design your sickbed

by godlove4241
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Five years ago I was in a car accident that has since thrown me in and out of a sick bed with chronic pain and ankle issues. I was only 20 when it happened – constantly on my feet, experiencing everything the world had to offer – and being forcibly slowed down and stuck at home was just as painful mentally as it was physically. In the half-decade since then, I’ve made progress with physiotherapy and surgery and the pain has come and gone, but, through it all, one thing has remained constant: the importance to have a bedroom.

In the beginning, when my medical bills were, say, acute and my cash was decidedly not, customize my space translated by simple modifications like posters surrounding my bed, or to the next apartment, a set of Leanne Shapton’s Watercolor Postcards dotted around the bed frame. Now that time has passed and I’ve been able to indulge a bit more, I’ve found that creating a space centered around an earth-toned color palette allows me to better handle the turbulence of pain. chronic.

While talking with others who have faced similar issues, I realized how common an ointment decoration is for treating health issues. It reminds me of the pleasure my late grandmother had in arranging the decor that surrounded her sickbed over a decade ago – nothing particularly advanced, but lots of photos, personal frames and blankets to make the sterile atmosphere of the hospital more welcoming.

In bed with the Morrow Soft Goods blanket and Morrow Soft Goods pillow that I bought for my surgery.

The post-surgery flower deliveries added an element of excitement to my room.

For Kathy Joyce, a 25-year-old agoraphobe, keeping her space calm and decorating around specific patterns is particularly heartwarming — think loads of heart-shaped accents, crucifixes, and — as she laughs admits — whatever. which has the Road Runner on it. “It seems like such a tortured artist, but there’s so much going on in my head that I don’t need to be stimulated by my space – I want to be soothed by it,” she says. Kathy shares another piece of her bedroom decor that makes living with agoraphobia easier: “I feel like decorating my space or organizing my space is a way to deal with my shame. Some of them are innate, I like nice and beautiful things, but I wonder if I’d be so uptight about [my decor] if I weren’t so ashamed.

Decorating my own bedroom was certainly also a matter of outward perception, especially when I was preparing for an operation last summer. Anticipating at least a month in a row spent almost entirely in my room, I lined up practical items (a case of Soylent and a jumbo box of sterile gauze were purchased) but also decorated my room to be especially accommodating when guests would inevitably come to visit. Anything resembling fashionable attire was out of reach in my post-op state, so my bedroom decor filled that void of self-expression.

“Buying decor for my bedroom actually gives me a completely different sense of joy than buying clothes for myself. It’s a lot less fleeting and a lot more comforting,” says Alex.

Photo: Alex Berner Coe

Alex Berner Coe, executive producer at thousand birds who was diagnosed with cancer in 2021, decorated the walls and ceiling of her bedroom with a collection of silk scarves she got during her chemotherapy. “I lost my hair and part of dealing with that loss was collecting vintage silk scarves in all kinds of sizes, patterns and colors,” she explains. “Some of them were too delicate to wear, or the coloring wasn’t right for my face, or some of them were gifts and I thought, Oh, I love this. I wouldn’t wear it. I don’t, but I love it. But, still, it’s still aesthetically pleasing so to me, it’s just not what I would wear. I’ve hung a lot of these on my walls and ceilings and they are just a reminder of what I’ve been through and the generosity of the people in my life and I really care about each one of them.

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