Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Shower Tales

I had a shower this morning. It's a difficult thing to do when I am down here on the coast. My Mom's bathroom is constructed in such a way as to make using the bathtub and shower impossible. So when I visit here for any length of time longer than a few days, I make sure to get a hotel room for a night, one with a roll-in shower and safety bars. The one I am in now is the Sandman Inn in Abbotsford, which makes it convenient for visiting with Meaghan, Lewis, Charlotte, and Orson.

Showers are a wonderful thing for me. I love the feel of the hot water coursing over me, the sound I hear inside my head as the droplets smack onto the top of my skull, the warmth all round as the heated water heats the shower stall. Yet a shower is also a frightening thing for me, a subject of hard work and difficulty.

When I want to shower, I must first undress. When I shower in the morning, this is easy. When I shower at night, it's a bit more difficult. Nonetheless, I have to undress to go to bed, so all in all, it is a must in my daily life. What is more challenging is the transfer from my wheelchair onto the shower seat. At home, I have homecare to help with this somewhat dangerous assignment. Here on the road, when I am solo, I face the challenge of transferring onto what is often a wobbly shower bench, from an unstable wheelchair resting on an un-level shower floor. It can be exciting.

Even with a successful transfer, I am at the point where I am unstable on the bench. I need those safety bars to ensure I remain upright while cleaning myself. I don't need them full-time; I can shower with both hands at least some of the time. On the other hand, if you will forgive the pun, I need to hold onto those bars whenever I reach, lean, or turn sideways. If you find yourself in a shower soon, count the number of times you do just those things and you will see how often I need to hold on for the sake of safety.

The transfer at the end of my shower is no easier than the beginning, only now the floor has the added value of being wet and slippery. This is no matter for me; I sit. It is, however, a matter for my wheelchair, which has a tendency to slide across the well watered shower floor. I can do it; I prefer help when I do it. I did it this morning. I am safely in my wheelchair. It doesn't make it easier or better knowing I can do it.

This whole process is still just scary enough that I sometimes skip it, just to avoid the risk. But not today. Today I am clean, no longer smelling of the river, dead fish, sweat, body odor and all that. Today I am ready for polite company. I wonder how my Mom and Ray have put up with the last couple of days. At least they will have a clean guest tonight.

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