Bed – one of the safest places a person can be. What can go wrong there? But things can go wrong. Generally speaking, though, it’s a place to feel secure and removed from the onslaught of germophobic hassles. Countless times I have gotten out of bed to an almost instantaneous OCD crisis and wished that I had stayed in my safe place.
For someone with insomnia, bed is, at times, a place of ambivalence – serenity or turmoil. It can be the location of extreme frustration as one restlessly turns from one side to the other waiting and longing for the bliss of unconsciousness. But after many nights of sleep deprivation, it is the sweetest spot on earth, in spite of the occasional nightmare.
Just as my chair is not like that of most people (see http://www.myocdlife.com/2013/02/11/a-place-to-put-the-posterior/ ), neither is my bed. My bedspread is intentionally too small to sufficiently cover the mattress because it is easier to handle. And I do not sleep on a regular pillow. I sleep on a tiny pillow slightly larger than my head. For years I struggled with my standard pillow when it came time to put on a clean pillowcase. As stated elsewhere, it is impossible to keep a mattress clean; likewise, the pillow that rests on top of it. When all of the linens are being laundered, where does one put a large pillow to keep it clean? I have not found such a place. As a result, I used to roll the clean pillowcase down to about two inches in height, then, knowingly but unwillingly, contaminate my arms by slowly wedging the pillow into the case, while steadying the pillow between my arms. I had to fight to maintain clean hands while carefully rolling the clean case up the pillow; then afterwards I had to extensively wash my arms. I did not look forward to wash day.
My miniature pillow solved that problem. It is small enough that I can place it safely on a high bookshelf reserved for clean objects while waiting on the laundry. It is too small to fit properly in a pillowcase, so I fold and drape the case over it. The case is, therefore, easy to wash and place back on the pillow.
What is unique about my bed is the zone – the clean zone. I sleep squarely in the center of my bed. My zone encompasses the space my body occupies plus about eight inches on either side. If my hands or elbows creep outside the zone, a considerable amount of cleaning will ensue. I have mastered the “in place” turn over – I won’t budge an inch either way.
When I wash clothes, my fresh pajama tops are placed on my mini pillow in the clean zone until I can hang them on their reserved and isolated hangers in the closet. Not long ago, my newly clean pajama tops were waiting on the pillow to be put away. There were several, so they spilled over onto the bed, which is fine as long as they are in the clean zone. There was one top that looked questionable to me. Was it truly in the zone? I don’t think it was over any farther than usual, but something made me uncomfortable. I looked closer. Then I felt compelled to test it out. I took a baggie and turned back the corner of the bedspread, because, of course, the portion of the bedspread that hangs over the mattress is unclean. With the bedspread delineating the clean zone and the dirty zone, it was clear (more or less) that the pajama top was not entirely in the clean zone, so it was plucked off the bed and tossed on the floor, where it belonged. It made me shudder to think that there had possibly been countless tops before that had been outside the clean zone. It made me feel unclean myself. But the past cannot be changed, so I shook it off and put it out of my mind. Onward and upward, I say.