For all the best efforts of the night nurse I cough myself awake again. Rasping coughs that kick my stricken chest muscles sore. I stumble out of bed, take some of the other medicine, make some tea. Back under the duvet. In the sleeping bag under the duvet, holding the hot water bottle for some kind of comfort I read until I lose consciousness again.
I cough myself awake. But at least the Today programme is on now so the loneliness abates. I log in to absent myself from work. There are a couple of things I can do to feel useful before fatigue pushes me back under the duvet. Where I read again, watch a world of sorts scroll by on twitter, get up again when I’m hungry.
The need for fresh air and people cajoles me out of the door and down to the cafe on the corner. The guy who runs it knows I have no voice, and how predictable my order is so it’s on its way. He is rightfully pleased with himself though I feel somewhat robbed of the handful of words I might have spoken that day. A whispered thanks will have to do. Then a wordless transaction with a deliberately silenced self-service checkout and I am home with dinner. I’m not doing too badly, I think. I am eating fairly well at least. I’m coping.
And I am home. Coping in these small, spare rooms. I’m coping and I’ll be fine. But I look around and realise how this just isn’t working. This isn’t where I want to be at all.