Family Fibromyalgia My Illness

Hiding Toilet Paper from my Husband

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

This is how it started:

My disease (fibromyalgia) did me in. Over time, it’s gotten worse and my ability to participate (in anything) has waned. Also, I have lots of arthritis and the pain can be excruciating.
I can shop. I can go onto my laptop and click buttons and those clicks bring products to my door! It is lovely. This also makes me feel useful and functional.
Back in the beginning of Covid, when the first shortage occurred, I was in Target, purchasing a few things for the house. The sales people were constructing a fence around the paper products and warning customers not to enter the fence without permission. It was very strange. I immediately decided that I wanted toilet paper and added that to my purchase for the day. So, it was like that, as soon as the world put restrictions on paper products, I wanted some of them.


Already, (because of my disability) I was not working in a job. I was available all day every day. Soon after, two of my kids, both with families, called about the toilet paper shortage. Both households were in very short supply and neither could find anywhere to purchase more. I offered my services, and within a couple of days, I was an expert on where and when the toilet paper truck showed up at several locations. Anyway, the kids came and got their paper supply from me, and after that were not stuck without toilet paper again. If you know the issue, it’s much easier to plan.

As life progressed, I tried to purchase toilet paper online, but I kept getting error messages all of the way into August. The retailers just couldn’t stock the stuff quickly enough.

Over the course of the past year and many months, I have kept a few cases of paper in our home. Any and every kind of paper can be found here: toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, counter wipes and cleaning (anything) wipes. My husband started making the kind of comments that should be interpreted as his disapproval of the overabundance of paper from online purchasing.

JB Library

Now there is another bit to this story that I need to acknowledge. When I was 8, 9 and 10 years old, I experienced hunger quite often. I never had breakfast and if I was lucky, I might get lunch. After a few years, I started hiding cans of soup under my bed. My mother indulged me and let me continue the practice for awhile. I’m not sure that it satisfied my hunger, but I felt safer with that soup under the bed.

Today, my toilet paper was sitting in the front closet and it was crushing my shoes. It was there because when the box came in, I hid it in my room so that I could avoid husbandly complaints. He is retired now, so it is difficult to keep anything from him (not that I ever could). Anyway, I waited for him to lay down for his nap and then I dragged that case of toilet paper into the back bedroom.

Something happened inside my head, when the world became paper scarce. And yes, keeping up with grocery shopping does make me feel useful and functional. But ~ I also think that somewhere in me, I am still taking care of that ten year-old girl who was hungry.

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