Sunday, 27 April 2014


This morning I did something dangerous, something truly risky, riskier than all the driving on Friday, something that scared me, right from the moment I checked into this hotel on Friday night, something I have been avoiding because of fear. This morning I took at shower. That may not seem all that risky; the risky part is that I took a shower using a wobbly shower chair inside a standard bathtub, with the inherent transfer and potential for a serious fall.

I am alone. If I fall there is nobody to hear the noise and yell. If I hit my head, nobody is around to rescue me. It is entirely possible, reasonable, even feasible that I might knock myself out in the fall and succumb to a concussion here in my hotel room. It happens to healthy people, never mind those of use with health issues, those of us on medications like warfarin, where internal bleeding and particular bleeding in the brain or other internal bleeding is one of the more common risks, especially after injury. Yet I needed a shower, in spite of this risk. I wanted a shower more than needed on. The next possible shower is several days away; I cannot use the bathroom at my Mom and Ray's place, so this is it until the next hotel room, assuming that even there I can get a proper wheelchair shower.

It's not the shower that is dangerous so much; it is the process of transferring from my wheelchair into the shower chair inside the walls of the tub. The approach itself is awkward. In order to get started I need to take the legs off my wheelchair, a process reminiscent of using my old bathroom, the one in my apartment prior to the recent renovations. Once the legs were off my chair, I shoved my dead feet around and slowly nudged my chair towards the tub side, approaching it at a 90 degree angle.

When the chair and I were sufficiently close, I lifted my legs across the tub wall, allowing my feet to rest inside the tub while my body rested on my wheelchair. Once positioned thus, I moved closer and slowly edged my bulk onto the rim of the tub while holding both my pseudo-steady wheelchair and the wobbly shower seat. From the edge of the tub, I continued the precarious nudge process until I was seated somewhat safely on the shower seat. Fortunately there are grab bars on this tub, along the inside wall, so I had something to hold onto once I was in the shower chair.

From there, I turned on the water, positioned the flexible shower head, and it was shower, precious shower. On completion, I toweled off while in the tub and positioned the chair for the exit. I had to pull the wheelchair further down the side of the tub to a safe exiting position. Getting in and getting out are two very different processes; try it someday, you'll see what I mean. Once the chair was in a safe position for the exit transfer, I then slid from the chair to the tub rim, immediately grabbing the wheelchair arms to pull myself into the chair. Once in, I began the reversal process out away from the tub.

It was at that moment that I discovered how the positioning of the wheelchair vis a vis the toilet now had it blocked in place, unable to move backwards at all. I considered my options and then chose to "hop" sideways in my wheelchair until I could get past the toilet, allowing myself sufficient reversal room to gain access to my wheelchair legs. A bit more jiggling and positioning, and the legs were in place. My own legs followed immediately thereafter.

I am good to go, showered and dried. Next, getting dressed. It never ends, does it?


  1. You need to get an "Alert" alarm bracelet, My Friend! See you tomorrow. Glad you will not be too stinky.

  2. More aftershave! In the era when bathing yearly was considered sufficient... just pour on more fragrance. (ugh) I have seen a sort-of portable bath bench that can be used across a standard tub. Might be useful traveling when all else is not sufficient. Do you know what I'm referring to? I remember them from Easter Seal House. The ones there were home made of painted wood by volunteers!

  3. It does not seem to end sweetheart. Life gets harder for you. Love you loads.