It is hard for the able-bodied to imagine how simple, everyday tasks can pose the most unexpected problems for those who suffer from chronic illness/condition. Take showering without any bathroom aids/extra equipment, for example.
So you’ve turned on the shower, stepped cautiously over the side of the bath—making certain to hang on to something solid in case your balance goes again, (or for those lucky enough to have a step-in shower, just walked in). And then the fun begins.
Start with your hair. Simple job, right? Well, not exactly. Not always. When you have muscle or joint pain/stiffness every day to incredibly varying degrees, stretching your arms over your head—in order to tentatively rub in shampoo—can be somewhat challenging on those days when you are not-so-flexible.
One must contort like a gymnast in order to obtain enough lather to do the job properly at times, which equals pain. If you manage this successfully, the rinsing is a breeze compared to what came before.
Then comes the reaching, (pain), stretching, (pain), lathering, (more pain), and rinsing of the body—and, don’t worry, I am not about to subject my readers to any details regarding this… use your imagination. All this whilst attempting to maintain balance when you rarely have access to that particular luxury.
So you got everything but your feet. Well done! Now for the biggest challenge of all.
There is nothing more awkward than feet, in my humble opinion! How does one wash feet in the shower—one handed, because you are hanging on for dear life with the other—without losing balance or slipping on soapy soles whist stretching, (pain, again), so that you can wash between your toes? Slowly, with great caution, and a prayer for extra stability sent up to whoever you pray to, that’s how. And then, IF you manage to accomplish all of this, you have to trim your toenails. Another story of equal frustration, which I will not bother you with here.
All of this slowness, carefulness, and pain comes at quite a cost. If your condition/illness is
blessed cursed with severe fatigue, the simple complex act of showering can be extremely exhausting in every sense of the word. You begin to wonder if keeping clean is really worth all that effort.
A loofah is another handy device, which will save all that stretching and reaching—well, a fair bit of it anyway. And basically, ANYTHING that will make the whole experience at least more tolerable is a good idea.