Home Safe Home


Currently more of us are staying at home due to this awful pandemic. Since many accidents occur in the home, I thought it was time to tackle the subject. One doesn’t have to be disabled to have an accident at home but those of us who are, are more at risk.

We live in a three storied Victorian era Italianate style home. Needless to say, we have many stairs to climb. When we moved here twenty-two years ago, many people asked me why we would move to a home with so many stairs since I have problems ambulating? The answer is a simple one. We just love the house. Its history and charm both captivated and appealed to us both. Since it’s 130 years old, something is always going wrong or needing paint but we still love it. Each time I come home, I feel it welcoming me with its crowded, cluttered, wall papered warmth. Sentimentality is hard to come by and when you do, I believe in hanging onto it.

I admit there are times I have doubts when going up or coming down the stairs. I have many bad joints due to two rheumatological diseases. My husband also has had both knees replaced while we’ve lived here and managed the stairs quite well. When I asked him what he was going to do about the stairs he responded, “Well, if I have to get up to the bedroom I’ll go up and down on my butt.” The guy’s a stubborn warrior, so what can I say. I don’t recall he ever had to do that bit.

As for me I just keep remembering and being inspired by all of our grandparents through the centuries who dealt with stairs from childhood into old age. If they managed, so can we. As for me, I take the stairs slowly and deliberately, always leaving one hand free for the banister.

When I’m having a particularly bad day, as many of us do, I try to remember to pop a cordless phone into my pocket. I also find myself frequently quietly repeating that credo for all
troubled knee patients, “The good go to heaven, the bad go to hell.” Which simply stated means you put your bad foot down first when going down and your good foot or leg down first when ascending.

At one time I had one orthopedic doctor with no sense of humor who I said that to and he looked startled. I think he thought I was a religious zealot trying to convert him. He asked me to repeat it so I explained it, his face fell with relief. Wonder what deep soul secret he’s hiding?

We did consider those chair lifts for the stairs but in our case they wouldn’t work. Our stairs are too weird. Speaking of chairs, I do love and recommend a good, sturdy shower chair.

 I also am quite an advocate for the nonslip socks in the house due to slippery floors and the dangers they present for those of us who aren’t that steady on our feet anymore. I even shower in a pair of them to keep from slipping. They work great and yes; your feet still get their share of soap and water.

Rugs are a major hazard and must have a rubber backing on them or one of the non-slip grip pads beneath. One has to watch those area rugs of all sizes.

There are many metaphorical stairs we climb and descend when we live with chronic pain and illness. We must be more careful with many of these changes and challenges than with the literal stairway. I have often said to myself, “Oh no, I can’t go through this…not another type of stairway of sorts. Not another challenge. Nope, can’t do it.” That is when I need the most help. I pray, I get outside and enjoy my flowers and the colors of the sky or the sparkling Columbia River and simply and quietly wait for the answers to come. I know courage and strength will come but first there is this feeling of doubt, despair and rebelliousness. I have to search and wait for that always present renewal of the spirit. 

Another “stairway” can be new medications to adjust to and then, of course, some dire warning comes out in an ad on TV i.e. “You can burst into flames if you swallow this one. Scheduling of our daily drugs is so important; I use those weekly containers and load them up once a month. It’s irritating once a month but a blessing every morning. Incidentally, don’t watch those ads about medications. Some lawyer somewhere is chasing an ambulance, if you know what I mean. It’s always about protecting some drug company and if we know all the side effects of any of them, we’d never take another drug, prescription or over the counter. Just remember the OTC drugs and herbs all do have side effects so do your reading. Thankfully the internet is a good source for info about medications. usually. Trust your source.

Be careful where you lay down a pill or a handful of them. Our pets can get them, small children or some idiot like me. There was the time I kept my meds in a small glass dish where I also kept my earrings. Yep, swallowed one. Did you know it takes 3-4 days for a gold earring to pass? Yes, I washed it well and still wear it. I’ve also swallowed one of the dog’s vitamins and found it did no harm and no I didn’t chase cars after that experience.

That leads me into the next “stair” many of us face, and that’s cleaning of ourselves, our yards, our homes and our laundry. All those roads lead uphill. It’s all harder to do now than it used to be. We live in a general atmosphere of cleanliness. That means I give dirt, dog hair and tiny insects the right to be here until we are having company. I attack what I can with my Swiffer products or Robot vacuum and I am also blessed with a dear husband who isn’t afraid to help with all of it. He folds towels better than I do.

My eyesight is poor thanks to a drug I took for many years and can be a blessing when you can’t see into those dusty, crumby corners in the kitchen. My credo is, if it stinks squirt it, if it moves smack it, if it’s sticky, spray it or call in the dog for help. Now when it comes to the car, that’s where my husband shines. Me? I don’t care about the car.

The changes that confront as disease encroaches, old age approaches while there are no life coaches can confuse us as to which stairs matter and which do not. It’s still a good idea to take all tasks and stair thoughtfully one step at a time and never panic. We might have to be less rigid in our standards of cleanliness. One can use a towel twice and the world doesn’t stop spinning. Yes, cleanliness can also help the attitude but one often has to choose; pain or chores.

Flares are another flight of stairs those of who live with chronic illness have to face. Whether you have a flicker or a complete burnout, flares are usually unexpected, of dubious origin and totally unwelcome. As to the causes of these days that bring about more fatigue, often more pain and grumpier attitudes; we each have our own answers. For me it is usually overdoing it the previous day or two, too much sun or forgetting to take a pain medication I could have used. Stress is another known contributor and each of us handle stress in our lives very differently.

 Grief is one of the heavier forms of stress and has no answers as each of us handle grief in all its many shapes differently. The normal passage of time, trusting our beliefs and warm memories have often helped me. Grief comes to us in many forms. Loss of a loved one and loss of one’s former way of life due to health are only a few of them.

When accosted by flares that don’t go away, it may be our body’s notification that it needs help. Time to get out the doctor’s phone number and have things checked out, labs drawn or just a reassuring visit. I think each of us have doctors we delay seeing for one reason or another. Ones we like are more easily approached. Drastic changes in pain, fevers, bleeding in the stools, vomiting and excessive nausea are all good reasons to contact our doctors. Most of us who have been ill for many years know our own signs of trouble and have to beware of that old enemy called denial. Denial is not your friend or mine when it is about our health. 

Caution and carefully thoughtful lives need to be a rule to follow as we age or become more ill. Accidents happen but we don’t need to make it easy for them to happen. I know you want to live like you used to. So do I. Change is difficult. I don’t like it. Never will but fighting it is the act of a fool and I truly want to live a more thought filled life. How about you?




25 thoughts on “Home Safe Home

  1. Happy Sunday Morning all
    Sue, so much wisdom in a little blog. I wrote a nice big post yesterday am, but lost it and was disgusted and quit ! But have to say this blog is right on time.
    This week has been a whirlwind for me. And trying to keep things clean in the house has been on the bottom of the list. When I have a few moments they are spent on the couch on my heating pad. Fibromyalgia has me in it’s nasty grip and I seem to get little relief these days from the tissue and nerve pains. And fatigue. But I try to ignore them and move anyway.
    We are trying to get my big fat mare bred. It has been an adventure so far and is not over yet. Unfortunately the little stallion we tried with this week is past his prime. Interested, but not up to the act. (Ever watched horse porn ?) Absolute beauty, purebred Arabian, so sweet. Mating rituals with horses are quite entertaining and keep you moving if you are on the end of the rope. Three days of it.But….Oh well, bachelor number 2 please ! Actively looking for a stallion now.
    Trying to keep up with Judy is a chore. But one done with a lot of love. And I am discovering I married a man with a bit of OCD. He is very good helping me and looking out for me. But all must be set just so, lol. I just walk away.
    Well, I need more coffee this morning.
    Don’t blame Sue if there are spacing errors in the blog, I was fighting with the program this morning and hopefully, I won. Please stay safe, enjoy your time with your family, and remember we have a Creator who is in control…..let Him lead you.

    • Tonie, Thanks for trying to get this posted correctly. Hopefully, it will work out but folks are reading it anyway. Your remarks and experiences with the horse porn were among the most unusual remarks I’ve ever had on here, I must say. Also provided a perfectly good reason why you are feeling so badly. I am so sad to hear that. What would we do without our heating pads?
      So? A DH with a bit of OCD? Welcome to the club. Much love, Sue

      • Sue
        I am so sorry the blog wasn’t posted as it should have looked. Sometimes going from Microsoft to Apple, it screws up on me.
        Hopefully this is better now.
        I forgot I told you about the fatigue and Fibro so when you messaged me today, I had no idea why you thought I was feeling bad. Duh ! Actually today was a good day. But now, I am tired out and it is time to get me laid down on the heating pad and relax.
        Do take care of you, and make Jim behave !
        Love Tonie

  2. Sue,

    You thank you for sharing this, and as usual you are right on target. I fight these on a daily basis as well and it is a challenge. I too have stairs, about 15, that I go up and down several times a day. And yes, many times on my buns. My husband and son worry about me going on them. Richard pauses the tv when I use them so he can hear if I yell for him or if he thinks I am really struggling he comes to the stairs. When really bad one of them takes me up and down.

    As for cleaning, let’s just say my house looks lived in. Everyone pitches in doing everything, where I used to do almost all of it. It made me feel so good after cleaning it. I didn’t want anyone to come over with it not cleaned. Now I have a saying, ‘If you are coming over to see ‘me’ exclude the clutter, if my house. If you come to inspect my house, don’t come.

    I for cleaning myself, I don’t wear socks in the shower but I did put down a non-slip sheet. Have a chair to put in there if I need it otherwise it is outside to sit on when I get out because I am so exhausted.

    Chair for stairs when that time comes, we are forgoing that and putting I a lift from the garage to my bedroom.

    I love gardening, but you know how limited that is. So I just bought a rolling garden cart with a swivel seat. Praying that will allow me to start working in there again.

    What I find the most relaxing when I get really frustrated with the pain and all of this is to sit out on my porch and listen to the birds. I do this every morning and thank God for them and the peacefulness. Then I read Scripture. The time alone with Him and nature is so calming and sets my day.

    Ok, I blabbed on long enough. God first and all else will fall into place somehow!


    • Cindy, Good to hear from you. Sounds like you have an understanding family which is a real blessing. Our lives sound very similar in many ways. I am sorry you struggle so much just to get through your life.
      Let me clarify the socks I wear in the shower have the rubber dots on the bottom. That’s the important part. Plain socks would be slippery. We also have a nonslip grip pad but it doesn’t always stay in place as it should due to the surface of our shower floor.
      Hope you’re able to enjoy your garden cart. Isn’t nature a wonder for its curative powers placed there in all its beauty by the Lord? Most of my gardening is done in pots on the porch out front. I am amazed by the fact all of my lavender and geraniums have not died out over the winter only got taller. My heavy yardwork, trimming, mowing, etc is done by our very nice yard guy.

      • I have a yard guy too, it’s called Richard. He has had to slow down because of his age and heart issue, but our son lives with us and helps out alot.

        Where on the Columbia River did you live? I lived in Kennewick, WA for 10 years.

  3. Oh how timely yet again. I actually got a case for my cellphone that has a lanyard attached. I wear it around my neck so it will be easy to get to if I fall. I wear it when I attempt to work outside or even to get the mail some days. I’m blessed that I bought a house nearly 30 years ago with everything on one floor. Zero stairs. My housekeeping has really gone down. I’m now in the process of trying to get things in order as I will have a new puppy to train to be a service dog to replace Remi. She’s 6 and the life span of the breed is 7-10 years. I need to get the new pup ready to start some work ASAP. He won’t be ready for balance work as that needs to wait until he’s got an adult skeletal system but he can pick stuff up I’ve dropped and hopefully alert. The new dog usually learns the alert from the other dogs in the environment. Remi learned from Nessie. Thinking of everyone

    • Laura, Can’t believe it’s time to replace Remi. Which breed of dog are you considering for your new service dog? Will you be doing all the training, with Remi’s help? Where will Remi live after the new pup is trained? With you? Yes, it’s a wise idea to always have a phone inside or out. Hope you’re having a good day now and then dear lady. Love, Sue

      • Remi will stay with me the rest of her life. We’ve bonded and the bonus to training your own service dog is that you keep them. My next service dog is a golden retriever. Getting a boy this time. He’s a week old already. It will be hard starting with a new dog partner. Remi and I know each other so well I rarely have to give a command. Traveling with her was a breeze as we had quite a drill bit suspect she may have made her last road trip to California. If I go again it will be after Remi is gone and Twist is in full work mode.

  4. Oh Sue, I really needed this right now, each and every exhortation. Denial, I didn’t realize it snuck in the back door. Yes, it is sapping the joys that can be mine each moment. It makes me think that my health challenges, both mental and physical, are decreasing my value as a God created being and the premature aging I perceive is not correctly defined. Challenges change us but don’t define or diminish us. I temporarily let go of the fact that I’ve already lived more than a decade past the expiration date placed on me by the medical community, including specialists at Johns Hopkins. I get a little giddy when I remember that, I feel like I’m getting away with something!
    Anyway, you always help me back to the better perspective. That’s why God had us touch paths virtually these many miles apart. Thank you, God bless you and you’re in my prayers.
    ~ Peace
    Jane Lee

    • Dear Jane, Indeed, you are getting away with something. You are proving doctor’s don’t know everything and do make mistakes. Thank God every day for this mistake. What was their diagnosis of what was going to kill you?
      Thanks for your kind remarks. I guess it does help you to know you are not alone in your suffering. Thank you for the much needed prayers. They keep me going. Fondly, Sue

  5. Agree with Tonie.a very wise blog and good to read in today’s circumstances
    Getting used to life like this,but went out to the parents graves….but with all the antiseptic stuff to use and gloves when out.feels safe to be back
    But it’s funny just mundane journeys now have a sense of excitement,that’s gotta be better than not noticing and it feeling jaded outside
    Maybe like life was before all the modern cr.p happened
    Love your porn story Tonie,,,who’d have thought….
    Must be good to have hubby there with all of this virus going on
    Hope you get over these flares soon there
    As for us ,dh is started drawing again I can’t read tho my headaches with the sjogrens
    Managed to get a click and collect from a store ..it’s so difficult as all booked up and delivery ones until July with my shop, others won’t except new accounts
    A local post office keeps us up with fresh stuff to the house
    So we have been told over 70s could be locked down for another year or a vaccine….but a vaccine is no good to me as I can’t have them
    So my future will have to be careful
    Hope all your family are well sue and I know you will keep a wise eye on them all
    Anyway all the best to all and stay safe

    • Chris dear, How do you know you wouldn’t be able to take a new vaccine. Don’t panic. I truly believe they will come up with something to vaccinate everyone who is at risk. I know, sometimes it is very depressing to think of living like this for another several months but no one knows right now. This is an awful situation but we are not alone in it. Millions of others are with us. Sounds like your area of England is more backed up than we are here in the US.
      I’m not sure I understand some of your talk about shops in your area. Why wouldn’t you get your mail? I hope you are getting food delivered. You confused me on that I’m afraid.
      I’m glad you are both well. You man is so talented. He’s fortunate. Hope his B/P is behaving. Do you have drops or eye wash that can get you able to read? Mine get really fatigued, also but I am still able to get relief from drops. Do take care, Sue

      • Hi sue
        The local post office is in a shop and it is a food shop as well,just a small one and they offered to do food deliveries If you want them..mostly post offices in villages are in food shops. Our mail is ok ..touch wood
        As for the vaccine it is the solution that they put it in that caused my immune system to go mad and brought on sjogrens.i had the swine flu vac back when that started…..the USA army has been investigating that problem with immune response to vaccines for them abroad .it has bought on sjogrens and other immune stuff for some of them..you perhaps have to have a weakness.but the neurologist I saw because I also lost the feeling in my foot 5 days along with other stuff after the vaccine ,told me never to have another vaccine..so I keep remembering his words
        As for food I managed to get a click and collect spot at our supermarket so I’ve ordered quite a lot
        At the moment I’m having some bad heads that the dr says is pressure there it comes when I bend sneeze or cough
        Eyes tested they were ok, but I think it mite be from the back of my neck as that’s all sore
        Always put drops in my eyes every half hr but it seems they still ache
        But the weather is good now and the garden beckons we will see our GS Thursday and have a picnic in the garden where we can keep our 2mtre distance
        I had a letter from the hospital telling me to isolate more than suggested,so I’m being careful

  6. Dearest Sue, all that I can say is that you are a true God deny blessing to me. I don’t feel so alone and I will read this often because it lifts my spirits😇 Gail

  7. Dear Laura, Happy to hear you’ll get to keep Remi. I know how very attached you are. At what age will you get the new pup? That sounds like a lot of work for both you and Remi. Bet you’re excited in many ways though.
    I know how much you love to visit your friends in Cali. That’s quite a trip for you. Love, Sue

    • I will be bringing the puppy home in June when he’s about 8 weeks old. I am getting pictures every few days. He’s from a breeder only 8 miles from my house whom I’ve known for some time. I like her breeding practices, know how she takes care of her puppies and absolutely trust her. That is huge of course.

      • Laura, sounds like a great choice and a wise one. Wouldn’t expect any less from you though. So exciting. Sue

  8. Tonie, The important thing is you finally got it right. I do appreciate your doing it for me every two weeks. Love, Sue

  9. Chris, thanks for explaining about the shops where you live in England. It’s good you got to place a large order of groceries. We are being watched over by our DD who orders online for them and us and delivers to us. God bless her.
    Good you will be able to see your GS> Enjoy. What a lot you have been through with that vaccine business. I have never heard about them causing SS. I’m glad they are investigating the situation. Surely they will change the medium any new vaccines are mixed with before they start injecting folks. Let us all pray they are able to get a vaccine for this Corona virus very soon. What a hideous, awful thing China has unleashed onto the whole world. Do stay safe now that spring is here and you can enjoy it. Love, Sue

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