Nine years ago I spent nearly every Friday in airports going to either Los Angeles or New York City.

I was always on the move.  I had friends from border to border in North America and my home town was full of good friends of mine willing to go out and do things at all times of the day or night.

womenprisonCaptureThey all knew I had RA and I sometimes got really tired, but everyone was cool with it.

Today I spend most days inside my house, reading, cruising the Internet or watching TV. The one deadline I have is writing this blog.

I have exactly one friend I can call anytime whose calls I take no matter what. I might go out to buy groceries, visit the mall only when a movie screening I really want to see is involved.

When did my world get so small?

When I left my job what I felt was relief I didn’t have to get on a plane here and not really know until I got to Dallas or Denver whether I was going east or west.

After a few weeks of me not being a movie junkets, some junket friends called to see how I was and when they heard “disability” I didn’t hear from many of them again.

Here, at first my friends would call and tell me about the great act at a club or a group happy hour. I’d politely decline, and after several of those, the calls tapered off, then stopped.

I’m not alone. It’s easy to build a world that extends no farther than the front and back doors. It gets easier to put off shopping until there is nothing in the house and you overdo it when you finally force yourself to go to the store.

There’s a lure to lying in bed all day, cozy and warm with your medicine in arms reach.

I felt guilty last year about staying at home and agreed to go on a few travel junkets for a newspaper. I mean, I’d been resting since 2006, I thought I’d be fine.

Big mistake. The trip planners had us continually busy from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or midnight every day of the trip. I pushed like the devil to do what they asked and came home wiped completely out.

I never even wrote the stories. I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for them.

It was way too soon.

This time I have a plan.

I’ve started fighting back slowly. I’m moving my borders back out. I refuse to let this disease make a prison out of my home.

My one friend and I have started swimming in a community college’s indoor pool. I used to be a lifeguard and a scuba diver. I love the water but getting me to the pool the first time was really hard. It took the stifling Oklahoma summer to convince me to jump into the pool in a lap lane and slowly start swimming from one end to the other.

We deliberately get in water too deep to stand in so even if we’re just taking, we’re treading water. My goal right now is to not stop moving. I swam the breast stroke with little pain. I started with that and floating on my back and kicking my way from one end of the pool to the other.

Monday I did a length of the good old Australian crawl and a fast breast stroke on the way back. It’s progress

I’m going to shopping malls early to look around the stores before a movie starts, and I’ll leave the house and have lunch with a family member and sit and have leisurely conversations before I come back home. I’m calling old friends to try to reconnect.

It’s my own private war but I am determined take back much of the property my enemy arthritis has taken from me.