Monday, 8 December 2014

Shower Assistance

My Home Care Case Manager dropped by this morning, and by this morning I mean at 12:00 noon today. "Morning" is a very subjective word for me. I actually had gotten up and dressed over an hour early; in my calendar the appointment was set for 11:00 AM. I was wrong. Now, last night was a rough night, so I took a Zopiclone at about 1:00 AM and went out like a light until 10:30 AM. I dressed and immediately fell once again asleep. When she arrived, she rang to be let in. I obliged, and fell right back to sleep. When she came through the front door, unlocked as it often is, she called for me and I finally woke up for the day.

Her visit with me was one of the regular checks she does to ensure my quality of care is adequate, that my emotional state is reasonable, that I am doing okay given the circumstances. We talked about the issues in my life, both personal and ALS. We talked about how my condition was changing, how my arms were weakening, how my fine motor control was declining on the left side of my mouth, the coughing and choking.

The discussion of what would finally be a loss of eating ability for me brought up the subject of liquefying my food at some point. I said that when I could no longer eat, I would most likely just stop eating. The conversation stalled for a moment, then she asked me if there was anything right now that I would like to get more help with.

With much trepidation and caution, I mentioned the shower. My wobble has increased. My strength has decreased. The transfer into the shower is still fairly simple. The transfer out, what with the wet floor providing no grip for the wheelchair wheels and the suction of my flabby muscles on the shower seat making it difficult to slide across, is becoming increasingly difficult. It has become scary enough to convince me to skip my shower now and again. Then I get smelly, something I really don't care for; I suspect those around me don't care for it either.

I had a bunch of questions about the whole shower assistance thing. I talked about my own sense of comfort, or more likely embarrassment, given the condition of my body in general. She said it would pass quickly; I would get used to it. I talked about the kind of help I would need. She said the care givers would adjust as needed. I asked about the who and the how of it all and was assured it would work with my current schedule; my current care workers would help me with my shower when they come to stretch me.

Then I asked the most difficult of questions. I said "My care giver is a very pretty 27 year old girl. If she starts handling me when I am naked, things might happen." My case manager said "She has other male clients. I am sure she has seen that before." Then, as if to close the matter, she said "I don't think that will happen anyway." She is probably right. There is enough embarrassment to go round.

So, come January, I will start having assistance in the shower. I knew it was coming. Actually I am glad to have the help. It is not, in this case, a loss of independence; the care workers are here anyway for my exercises. Now, without fear of falling or hurting myself, I get to be cleaner, to smell nicer. How can that be bad?

1 comment:

  1. It is good my dear. You have to take life as it comes. Love you. Mom