The bed ain’t so bad


BRIGHT SIDE Sonia Kelly, beneath the quilt that was made for her as a gift.

Advice from a nonagenarian on finding joy while bedridden – by coronavirus or anything else

Sonia Kelly

Few people would think it possible to have pleasant experiences while stuck in bed, but I am here to tell you that it’s possible. You just have to look for them and let them keep your spirits lifted.
I am lucky enough to have had several such pleasant experiences, starting with breakfast. Normally this would cause problems without milk, to which I am allergic, but I have inventive feeders, and they came up with porridge to which was added prune juice and maple syrup. Maple syrup was the star of the show, and ever since I have never lost an opportunity to slosh it on to whatever is suitable.
Next we have presents. These are sent by mainly erstwhile shopkeepers who remember me visiting their shops – though I have to say, my visits were often really scrounging for scraps to feed our cats and dogs and the inmates of my snail farm.
One present was an orchid, which I discovered was an exotic plant that grows on trees in the jungle. Another was a box of frozen fruit, in deference to my health centre. A really odd one was a box of Spanish sweets made entirely of egg yolks and sugar, a speciality of a place called Ávila. Lastly, there was a beautiful bed quilt, which must have taken the donor days, if not weeks, of work! I am deeply grateful for all of them.
My electric blanket is an accoutrement of my sick bed. The blanket has the power to generate joy or misery. My one is programmed to switch off after nine hours, but it sometimes runs amok and decides itself when to shut down.
When this happens in the night I wake up shivering and cower beneath the cold bedclothes until I find the inspiration to holler for the sleepover person, who comes and turns it on again. The relief of the returning warmth can be described as divine! I don’t know if the relief is worth the torture but it is certainly a very pleasing experience and worthy of celebration.
Which I do with my favourite tipple, which is Bailey’s. I invented my favourite dessert which is Bailey’s poured over lactose-free ice-cream. I have to be careful not to over-celebrate, but the next experience is certainly worthy of a sweet treat.
It’s the discovery that this article has been deemed fit for publication. It was prepared with great difficulty, as the author (me) is pretty much blind and deaf, and two members of my family are involved. One to receive the dictation and another to sort it all out.
I have fallen in love with the word ‘mighty’, when it’s used to mean great. I am delighted with it; such a vigorous word (as described by an associate) and so colourful. I use it all the time, when suitable opportunities appear. Like when I hear my favourite song – ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Misérables, sung by Colm Wilkinson. Very appropriate.
On one occasion recently, a stray dog wandered up the drive and scared all the cats away. Three of them returned for supper, but not the boss cat, who is elderly. I thought he’d been killed, but the next morning I was told he was banging at the door for breakfast as normal. I was asked how I felt now. There was only one reply. Mighty!

Sonia Kelly, who is now 97, is a published author and poet, the founder of the Cloona Health Centre in Westport and a Mayo News contributor for many years.