HOMEBOUND
by Nichole Foster

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Permission is granted by Nichole Foster to use this text for educational or non-profit purposes, with attribution.

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        Sitting in class, the teacher tells everyone to pass their homework to the front of the room. Reaching back to grab the assignment from the girl that sits behind you leaves you empty handed. Turning slightly, you see that she's absent - again.

        Since she hasn't been there for a couple weeks, or longer, you are curious about what happened to her. So you casually ask anyone that can hear you, "Hey, does anyone know what happened to that girl that's supposed to sit behind me?"

        You get various responses from students sitting near you.

        "I heard she moved,", says the boy in front of you.

        A girl across the aisle says, "No, I heard she dropped out."

        A boy in the front row laughs, and calls back, "Maybe she died!"

        Shrugging your shoulders, you try to concentrate on listening to the teacher. You start daydreaming, not giving another thought to "that girl" until the next day when you reach for her homework. Hmm, maybe she is dead.

        Well, I can tell you exactly where "that girl" is, because I'm her. And, no I'm not writing to you from beyond the grave - I'm alive, basically happy, and though not completely healthy, I'm far from being six feet underground. I'm just on homebound.

        Homebound, since I know most people are wondering, is when you are unable to go to school for some reason, as determined by your doctor. You don't give school up completely, if that's what your thinking. What happens is, instead of you going to school, school comes to you. Teachers come to your house once or twice a week, for about an hour each visit.

        Now, I can't count the number of times I've had friends say things like, "That sounds great! I want to be sick so I can go on homebound."

        I always reply, "No, you don't!" And here's why:

        First of all, and to me most importantly, if your sick enough to be on homebound, you're too sick to enjoy being at home! I spend my days taking medicine, doing school work, and resting. Despite what many people seem to think about what I do all day, I'm not partying, and having loads of fun.

        I guess, then, that my next point is that I miss out on all the fun. Being sick has caused me to miss out on things I've planned to do. I miss out on going to school club meetings, and other after school activities (I know, I know - not everyone sees these things as fun, but I miss them). I hardly ever get to do things like go to the movies or hang out at the mall with my friends. Sitting at home all the time is just plain boring. But if someone from school sees me outside of school, I get bombarded with questions.

        So just so you understand, being on homebound means (at least in my case) that I'm not up to going to school all day everyday. It is easier to go on homebound, because otherwise, I would just miss a lot of school, and fall way behind on my school work. It does not mean that I can't leave the house! In fact I need to leave the house sometimes, to keep my life from being too monotonous. So, if you see me out at the store or something, please, don't make a big deal about it. I'm just trying to keep from getting "cabin fever."

        Believe it or not, when you're not in school, you start to miss it. I miss talking to my friends in front of my locker every morning, waving to people in the hallways as we rush to classes, and just seeing other people besides my mom, brother, and niece everyday. Homebound isn't as great as it first sounds - take it from me, "that girl."