As a child, I sought out small spaces in which to disappear; sliding on my stomach under beds, head side twisted, then nose to the floor, breathing in the scent of the carpet. I would clamber onto a chair then creep into the corner of the airing cupboard, burrowing under clean linen in the half light of a door left slightly ajar. I was the hide and seek queen, tucked away, still and silent in the shadows.....
but then I got stuck in the toy box. The lid slammed, and my sisters, tiring of the game,wandered away to do something more exciting. I was left in the dark space, knees against chest in a foetal curve, unable to raise the lid or to extract myself. I remember the feel of pine under my hands as I pushed upwards in vain and the surge of panic which engulfed me as my cries for help went unanswered for what seemed like an eternity.
Now I avoid small spaces; large crowds; tight packed lifts and low tunnels where the weight of earth pressing down from above stops my heart and causes me to catch my breath.
Today I went for a bone scan; and for an instant wanted to turn and walk away; dreading the coffin like tube of the MRI .... not for its juddering whine and hum, but for the enclosed tight space pressing against limbs...unable to move; pinioned like moth in a jar. Imagine my relief when I entered the Nuclear Medicine Suite to find there was no MRI, no tube of terror; but a comfortable contoured bench, warm blanket and soft music. An image of apple blossom against blue skies drew my eyes to the ceiling, whist the soft vibrations of the imager moved all around me. Totally relaxed, I dozed through my allotted time..... thankful that, for now, there are no small spaces awaiting me.