Big day today. I had a shower. My first for months! Obviously I’ve been washed every day but bed baths really aren’t the same. I’m what’s called a Double Hander – which means I require two carers. I joke that each of my boobs is a double hander as it takes one carer to lift and the other to wash under! 🤣
To be honest, I’d been a bit apprehensive at the prospect of having a shower and wasn’t in a great hurry. So I wasn’t bothered that the wet room took a while or that then we had to wait for the Occupational Therapist to come out and do an assessment before the carers could take me in it.
I certainly wasn’t as keen as one carer in particular who, in her words, couldn’t wait to get me into the shower and wash all my “nooks and crannies”!! 😃
Part of my reluctance was due to worrying about the water going on my face and not being able to breathe. As luck would have it, the first real opportunity to have a shower fell on a day when the keen carer was working – she was here yesterday too and told me she was coming in the morning so I knew there was going to be no getting out of it! What’s more, she had anticipated my concerns about breathing, was mindful of it and worked out ways reducing the water going on my face. So that really set my mind at ease.
It was quite the logistical feat. I went downstairs in the normal way but instead of transferring into my wheelchair I went into the commode/shower chair, had my nightshirt and sling taken off, then wheeled into the shower. The shower is fab – nice and spacious, with little doors which fold (an unintended added bonus is that it’s ideal for washing the dogs in!). One carer stayed outside and operated the shower head while the other came in with me and set about applying the shower gel, getting into all my nooks and crannies as promised – with quite some zest too! As soon as I felt the water on my skin all my concerns vanished, I absolutely loved it.
After my body (every inch!) and hair had had a good clean, I had my bath robe put over my front then was wheeled out, the sling put on around me and taken back upstairs to be dressed. We had another laugh too because when I’m placed on the stairlift chair I have to make sure I’m far enough back on the seat, so the carers always push me back, usually pressing their knees against mine as I’m lowered. Yesterday, one carer apologised to me as she undertook the manoeuvre, saying “oh sorry, Sar – my knee’s up your fanny!”. 😳😂
I love the banter – we’re all women after all, and nearly all women of a certain age, so we can discuss and laugh about all sorts. There’s a danger that I may have to have agency carers in the future and the thought of having youngsters doing all sorts of personal things to me fills me with dread.
Still, one advantage of the coronavirus is that we will be keeping the community team for the foreseeable. And where would we be without such carers? They’re quietly getting on with it, foregoing leave in many cases to make sure they can keep providing care to the most vulnerable among us.
And ensuring I’m squeaky clean all over!