a long start to my day

We had a handicap-accessible shower built.

I can now take showers by myself. When I want to. Not on anyone else’s schedule. Not asking to bathe myself.

Showering by myself is an art. Easy for the  normal. A harsh task for the handicapped.

Putting the shower chair in the stall. Knowing where the soap and shampoo is, there will be water in my face, I’ll need to know by feel. Having my scrubber close. Already having clothing set out. Transferring out of my chair to get undressed.  Getting the towels in the chair in the right order, one I’ll sit on, one to dry my body. Transfer back when I’m naked.

Ready to take the actual shower.

I only get one shot. There is no getting out to grab something. Once I leave the wheelchair, there’s no going back.

Clean the body. Wash the hair. Use one hand. Remember what it was like to feel the shower pound on my back.

It hasn’t in three years.

Stand naked, wet, carefully balanced. A bathing gamble.

Once back in my wheelchair I face the mirror.

I brush the teeth that once were straight.

I wash the shin affected by the medications I have to take. Blemishes the trade for life.

I apply deodorant. Making my right arm lift and performing Circe de Armpit with my left.

I style my hair. My left hand wielding brush, dryer and curling iron with the confidence born of time.

I get dressed. A feat of it’s own.

I’m ready.

I leave the bathroom to “start my day”. As if my work didn’t already start.


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7 Responses to a long start to my day

  1. Alexandra October 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM #


    YES, all the way.

    After the pregnancy bedrest with each of my babies: three times on my left side for a period of five months each, I think of how I spent a year and half, just laying there: feeling so sad and useless.

    I promised myself I’d never be lazy again.

    I can use my body now, and I never take that for granted.

    Alexandra´s last post…ICYMI

  2. Angi September 24, 2012 at 9:47 AM #

    The brilliance is in how beautifully you write about the little things.

    Angi´s last post…I rise

  3. Delfin Joaquin Paris III September 21, 2012 at 9:27 PM #

    Being an inspiration to others must also be exhausting. You are.

    Delfin Joaquin Paris III´s last post…I’m Going To Do It But I’m Not Going To Do It

  4. L.McG.-E. September 21, 2012 at 4:44 PM #

    A timely reminder of how we can take the beauty of the everyday for granted. Independence is a wonderful thing.

    L.McG.-E.´s last post…The night before.

  5. Kristin September 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM #

    I remember a similar dance when I’d help my brother-in-law, Jose, after his physical therapy in the pool. I’m glad you have the freedom to shower on your own but it’s a shame it;s so much work.

    Kristin´s last post…Meatloaf lied to us

  6. Apryl's Antics September 21, 2012 at 12:22 PM #

    A feat so many of us take for granted. More people will appreciate showers today than you’ll ever know.

    Congratulations on another accomplishment in the direction of independence!

  7. Ann at Mundane Magic September 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM #

    Independence earned. Oh how sweet to feel that water on your back again!

    Excuse me while I go to get my kleenex. This was a good one.

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