the story of pants

This falls into that WAY TMI category, but I have to tell the tmi for it all to make sense.


Not sex, Mom.

Months ago I asked my therapists a questions I figured they would have a solution for.

“When you only have one arm to hold you, how do you pull you pull your pants down so you can go to the bathroom?”

Lots of answers, right?





I was floored that there was no solution.

But I was even MORE amazed that in all their combined years of therapy, no one had asked about a basic function.

This was a fundamental part of independence.

Something EVERYONE does.

I had to come up with my own solution.

I tried several types of underwear. Then found the ones that pulled to the side.

Then I did what was know (in my world) as the Bathing Suit Method.

I wore dresses.

Skirts that could be tucked into my bra.

This worked for a long time.

Then I started practicing standing on two feet.

Balancing on two legs.

And the I did this….


This picture is important for a few reasons.

*The picture of the floor shows my shadow and the fact that I was standing

*I f I took a picture with my cell phone camera while standing then I wasn’t holding onto ANYTHING

*That was the longest I had stood, without support, since November 2009

**Those two odd tiles are where they widened the doorway!!! (which is totally off-topic, but cool!)**

Since I make this breakthrough of trusting my right leg to hold me, and gave my left arm some freedom I’ve done something major.

I can take my underwear OFF.

I’ve started wearing pants again.

When summer comes this year, I will pull on my own shorts.

Maybe I’ll take a picture of them.

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34 Responses to the story of pants

  1. Susie March 26, 2011 at 8:38 PM #

    Jeez, here I told you, Anissa, that I finally had a new computer and I’d be consistent on your blog, and my son shows up for a visit! What’s a mama to do? Well, actually, that’s a lie! We both went in 1/2 on the plane ticket, and since I hadn’t wrapped my arms around him for a whole 8 1/2 months, I was more than ready to see him. I know you’ll understand because you’re a mama of a son too! I was very touched that he came on his spring break! Seriously, what kid does that?

    But forget about me. Let’s talk about YOU! I’m obviously five days late in hearing this awesome, incredible, makes-me-so-happy-I-have-tears-in-my-eyes-news! I never doubted for a second that this day would come. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read your post

    It’s just the beginning, lady! I’m screaming that to my computer hoping you can hear me from at least 2,000 miles away.

    So it give me great pleasure to say: Now go get tomorrow, Anissa, like you always do! Can’t wait for more pictures! Pants? Then shorts… then what??? *Chuckle* Maybe thongs?

    PS And speaking of pictures, is it crazy that I borrowed my son’s Pentax camera and took about 200 pictures of my cat? You see, I had to be VERY patient to get some kind of action shot from her. I told myself I was just practicing with his camera because the updated model is the one I want to buy and that’s why I was taking so many pictures! Yeah, I know–no one is gonna believe that story because my kids consider me to be the most sentimental mom on the planet and they know my cat is my last child at home…

  2. Katherine Malone March 25, 2011 at 2:49 PM #

    HOORAY! This is awesome news, AM. I am so excited for and proud of you! :)

    Katherine Malone´s last post…Food and Fashion A Lovely Night

  3. Lisa B March 25, 2011 at 2:11 PM #

    Long time lurker coming out of the closet to say –

    Wonderful!!! Definitely not TMI. You’re an inspiration. Go, Anissa.

  4. carol anne March 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM #

    Congrats! Each milestone is a victory.

    carol anne´s last post…365 Days of Carol Anne Learning to Love Myself

  5. Annie from Oregon March 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

    Anissa – this feat is so HUGE!! What a sense of accomplishment you have! I am really glad you shared this with us!! I am so proud that your physical strength is matching your ingenuity and humor (…go him..! =o) When I read this post I laughed and cheered out LOUD! Keep going for your ‘gold’ and we’ll keep cheering and believing you will get there–you are already on a fast track in many ways. Love your determination and personality. Woot!!

    • Susie March 26, 2011 at 8:22 PM #

      Annie ~ I finally caught up with some of Anissa’s more recent posts and saw your note to me. But you probably won’t see my post on 3/16 that I just typed. Anywhoo…
      mahalo for your kind words! And so curiosity doesn’t kill me right here and now, where the heck do you live in Oregon? We lived in Bend from 1992-2002, then Santa Barbara, and after my hubby died in 2004, it took me a lot of years to find a home to buy and I recently took a leap of faith and ended up in Boise since last November.

      Um, tag! You’re it!

  6. usedtobeme March 22, 2011 at 5:11 PM #

    YAY! and Congratulations. My step dad had two strokes, the first one at 35. I understand the importance of the little things. Keep up the good work. (long time lurker)

  7. Sara G March 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM #

    Yay Congrats!! So awesome to know you have stood longer. Keep at it!!

    Sara G´s last post…Psalm 51 – A prayer by David

  8. Faiqa March 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM #

    Can’t wait to see your shorts. Not meant in a sexual way. Mostly not.

    Faiqa´s last post…I Love Asian Guys

  9. Adventures In Babywearing March 22, 2011 at 11:23 AM #


    Adventures In Babywearing´s last post…This Guy

  10. Twenty Four At Heart March 22, 2011 at 10:03 AM #

    Congratulations! That’s awesome and a huge deal. Taking off pants is a major accomplishment and you know I get it. It took me a few years and I’m still very awkward. I asked my PT how to wipe my ass one day. (Oh yes I did!) I’m right handed and my right arm is the one that’s disabled. My left arm and hand were completely uncoordinated when I first had the accident. (They still are, but I’ve gotten better at using them now.) Yes, I’m very glamorous … learning to wipe my own ass was a BIG.DEAL!!

    Twenty Four At Heart´s last post…Tigers- And Lions- And Bears Almost!

  11. TJ March 22, 2011 at 9:57 AM #

    I know what you mean- but I had the problem of a broken surgically fixed leg that wasn’t allowed to touch the ground, no weight on it whatsoever. My favorite (NOT) experience was when I had to go to the hospital, they wanted a urine sample. It simply is not possible to get from a wheelchair to the toilet, hold a cup to pee in, try to hover and not touch anything all without one of your legs touching down. The nurse was pissed I asked for help. I used to dread going to the bathroom or taking a bath. I’d be so worn out by the time I was situated, I felt like sitting there for much longer than necessary…

    I so admire your toughness- keep pushing! Reading your stories keeps me doing my leg exercises!

  12. Penbleth March 22, 2011 at 9:48 AM #

    You are an inspiration. And why don’t people ask these basic questions, going to the loo is something we all have to do, a person should be able to ask their nurse or doctor or therapist about it.

    Poop to them for having no answers. Well done to you.

    Penbleth´s last post…Where have you been hiding

    • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM #

      I didn’t understand asking them to teach me to get off the floor. I can’t be the only person who’s fallen!

      Or can I?

      • Tomi March 22, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

        as a COTA we work with people all the time on getting off the floor before going home.. it is important.. and as for the bathroom thing.. there are ways to do it.. varied per persone and exact b-room set-up.. just sayin’ …

        • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

          That’s a strange thing to be happy for but I’ve heard of that and some rehab places that DON’T LET YOU LEAVE until you can get up from a fall. Some people don’t realize what important skills you are teaching people.


  13. Jeanette Verster March 22, 2011 at 8:58 AM #

    woohoo!! Well done!

    Jeanette Verster´s last post…The first Moms with Cameras Workshop happened today

  14. Kristin March 22, 2011 at 12:59 AM #

    You continually amaze me Anissa!

    Kristin´s last post…Monday MIscellany

  15. Michelle M. March 22, 2011 at 12:56 AM #

    Holy hell, but do I get excited when I read stuff like this. YOU ARE A ROCK STAR!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been so friggin’ excited about a grown women pulling down her own chonies but, there ya have it. YAY!

  16. Fairly Odd Mother March 21, 2011 at 9:32 PM #

    woo hoo! Standing!!!!

    And I thought for sure this was going to end with you saying you loved crotchless panties for their obvious convenience in using the bathroom.

    Instead,THIS news is so much better.

    • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 10:13 AM #

      Crotchless panties are a post for another day!

  17. Eusticethesheep March 21, 2011 at 4:25 PM #

    I had been bugging a doctor (physiatrist) who really wanted to be a fashion designer not a doctor, to design nice clothing for people who have these challenges. I wish he’d do it!

    I’m so glad to hear that you’re on your way to doing more on your own.

    Eusticethesheep´s last post…Playing Catch Up

    • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 10:07 AM #

      Here’s a suggestion: an underwire bra that has a band in the front to keep it connected for one-armed/disabled patients that THEN can be closed when you put it on over your head like a sport bra.


  18. Lorrian March 21, 2011 at 3:32 PM #

    NOT TMI at all…and congratulations!

    You are not an inspiration.

    And I’m lying. ;-)


    • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM #

      And I won’t punch that baby!!

  19. lceel March 21, 2011 at 2:44 PM #

    I read this twice. THEN the little light came on and I realized you WEREN’T standing to go to the bathroom.

    lceel´s last post…Monday Meanders 3-21

  20. Kathykate March 21, 2011 at 2:21 PM #

    Not TMI, in fact, not enough. Glad to hear about your pantology progress and want to hear more!

    Kathykate´s last post…My Husband is Cheating on Me with a Tree

  21. Awesome Mom March 21, 2011 at 2:12 PM #

    My son can use only one hand due to a stroke and I was very worried about this when it came time to potty train him. Thankfully he is pretty steady on his feet and can just pull em up and down using one hand. I have to adjust his pants and undies a lot though because they get bunched up and he does not care enough to readjust them.

    • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 9:58 AM #

      I hope it works better for him since he iteratively won’t ever know different and have to relearn the process.

      GO HIM!

      • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 9:59 AM #

        um, “literally” HEH! coffee-typo

  22. Sarah Scott March 21, 2011 at 1:43 PM #

    Congratulations! I hope you shared this with your therapists :)

    Sarah Scott´s last post…News on the Business Front!

    • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM #

      They were the FIRST people I emailed!

      After my mom.

  23. Melissa March 21, 2011 at 1:03 PM #

    Awesome. That’s all. just awesome.

    Melissa´s last post…So grateful

    • Anissa Mayhew March 22, 2011 at 9:54 AM #

      I thought so too!!

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