Just for fun, I thought I might share my shower shennanigans with you all. Anyone who has broken a limb might identify with them and anyone who happens to be in a similar boat - or shower seat - will know that they are not alone.
But, just quickly, before I begin I must say a word to any permanently disabled person who may happen upon this little piece. That is that I am so very aware, because this has happened to me, of how very lucky I am that my injury is, hopefully, only temporary and that although I write this in a light hearted vein I intend absolutely no offence.
I was discharged from hospital with the loan of a zimmer frame, a pair of crutches and a highly decorative support to fit around the toilet. The instructions were not to put any weight at all on my right foot and that this state of affairs could last for at least three months. When I talked about the practicalities of showering etc. the occupational therapist suggested that as long as my 'personal hygiene' was OK surely I should be able to manage with a 'good wash' or perhaps my husband could help me with a shower or bath occasionally! Not on your nelly!
Some very serious plotting and planning needed to be done very promptly.
The first obstacle of how to keep the plaster dry had already been overcome whilst I was still in hospital. As it happened I was already familiar with the excellent Limbo Shower Protectors as I had ordered one for my mum when she had her knee replacement. My daughter had quickly got on line and ordered a full leg for me and a lower arm for my husband. Both product and service come highly recommended I have to say, as they arrived speedily with no fuss and my plastic leg is still totally watertight after months of pulling and stretching.
Fine, but then how was I going to manage to preserve some dignity and privacy and get in the shower or the bath on one leg on my own without consequently breaking my neck?
While I was in hospital I was sometimes wheeled to the loo in a plastic commode come shower chair. Occasionally the nurses were so busy that I would end up abandoned in the loo for ages whilst their ministrations were diverted hither and thither. I soon discovered that with care I could achieve some indepence and get myself back to my bed by scooting this chair along with my good foot. What I needed then, was one of these chairs for home. Thank goodness for the Internet.
After a wee bit of research hopping (ha !) we found this this little beauty from www.homeandmedical.co.uk which was also delivered within a few days with the minimum of fuss. Some folks might reckon that to be a bit of an extravagant purchase but if he has said it once, my OH has said several times that it was the best hundred quid we have ever spent. Not least because it doubles as a daytime scooting chair for down in our kitchen and breakfast room -
- and means that I can still do some chores and get supper prepared for when he comes home on those weekday evenings. And he then, wearing his 'shower elf hat' carries the chair upstairs at night and puts it in place ready for my 'temporary' - underlined and in bold text by way of positive thinking - morning shower routine.
Which goes something like this:
Depending on my energy and enthusiasm it can be anything between 10 to 20 zimmer hops from my warm cosy bed to the top of the small flight of stairs down to our loo, bathroom and back bedroom. At the top of these stairs, and the equivalent ones downstairs, I have my trusty footstep stool. Lowering myself to sit on the stool I pick up the zimmer and rest it down onto the third or fourth stair tread, then lower myself on my bum down each stair moving the zimmer down in front of me till the zimmer is on the floor and I am on the second step. Then to hawl myself up to vertical and, after a quick visit to the loo en route, further shuffle hop shuffle finally gains me access to the bathroom.
Now for a very short confession. When we had the bathroom redone a couple or so years ago, I was quite grumpy about the size of the new shower and could see no reason for it to be quite so spacious. But I have eaten suitable humble pie and am now very grateful for all that extra elbow room.
So, going back to the shennanigans, now that we are in the bathroom see how welcoming and caring are the shower elf's preparations!
But gone are the days of flinging off the jimjams and jumping straight into the shower.
Now more patience is required while we shuffle to the stool by the sink - (previously purchased for my mum and aforesaid knee replacement) - and faff around there to get the body naked and the leg covered.
A feat which has become easier with practice but which initiallly had me twisted into monkey like contortions and turning purple with frustration. Especially since for the first several weeks I had a burn on the back of my right hand (friction burn from the air bag) which also had to be kept dry. So having donned the leg I had to pull on my husband's arm as well. Thank goodness there were no observers, is all I can say! Plus it is quite strange trying to wash your hair through a heavy polythene covered hand.
Then with the body finally semi naked and semi garbed in plastic, it is then a couple of short hops to the front of the shower where the zimmer rests and then just one more careful hop gets one to the safety of the chair - which - in the last couple of weeks - has been just a little chilly to the cheeks - as it were.
Once ensconced the 'glass half full me' appreciates the luxury of being able to retain my dignity and have a shower all by myself in these circumstances - but the 'glass half empty me' longs to be able to just stand there again and wash hair and body all in one indulgent uninterrupted cascade of hot water. As it is the whole process is a stop start staccato of washing sections at a time and shivering horribly in between. And, I found quite early on, that before the happy reward of reaching behind the shower curtain for the snugly warm towel off the heated rail, it pays to wriggle one's bum around a little to make sure that the remaining tepid puddle of water in which one sits drains through the little holes in the seat - otherwise said puddle can significantly reduce the comfort and drying power of said towel.
Now, having overcome the slight struggle to remove the plastic, comes the rewarding clean, cosy and comfy reverse journey back up to the bedroom. Where according to routine and instructions it is time to take off the plaster and pamper and exercise the foot. But before I go, if I remember, I have perfected the art of hopping on the scales with one foot - just because I can!