April 14, 2017

Cleaning while chronically ill

Something you don't think about when entering the Kingdom of the Sick is cleanliness. You don't ponder how to scrub the toilet or vacuum under the couch until your body always wants to sleep and your hands are glowing with pain. You don't mind the dust until you are powerless to remove it.

Usually people enter my home and say "it looks clean" or some variation thereon. Which is true but can imply judgement: why are you asking for help when your home is cleaner than mine? They don't see the dust that accumulates under and behind everything. They can't understand my panic at clothing moths entering from other apartments and trying to nest in my woolens. Or that cat vomit is dried to the floor under my bed because I can't reach it.

I like my apartment. It's well located, my unit is bright and spacious, I can afford the rent. But the building is dirty. The ventilation system has likely never been cleaned so dust and grit are blown everywhere. Neighbors have pests which infiltrate my home. The shower caulking mildewed and maintenance's solution was to apply clear caulk over that. Dirt has accumulated in every crack. And I'm powerless to change this.

I struggle to accept this reality but I cannot consistently do so. I've had help cleaning but it's impossible to ask someone to clean what they can't see. And I'm the only one who takes a more than cursory glance at my home. I will never solve the clothing moth problem while I live in this building. For someone whose medium is wool that is a painful fact.


  1. Thank you for posting honestly. I, too, have a chronic illness that fatigues me terribly. Not anything as debilitating as yours, but enough to change my life. I am still working although I had to change to a lower paying, but MUCH less stressful job, as stress made my condition so much worse. There is only X amount of energy and I have to choose how I will "spend" it. I must work. I absolutely will have a social life and I will go to yoga and other classes that improve my life. I wish I lived in a really clean house, but energy to spend cleaning is close to last on my list. Therefore, I live in a not very clean house. Like you, I wish it was otherwise, but this is the reality of my life. Like you I try to concentrate on all the great attributes of my apartment and remind myself nothing is perfect anyway. Just keep on keeping on and concentrate as much as you can on the positive. Thank you for honest talk about living with a chronic illness.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Patricia. I'm sorry you're dealing with this too.

      Being honest is important to me because these problems are so invisible. If I can help by speaking up then I will. Somebody has to be the squeaky wheel ;)


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