There are some things that you may not know about someone living with chronic illness. The reason it’s not talked about is because a lot of these things we consider humiliating or embarrassing. I’m sharing just one of them with you today.
We don’t shower every day! What!? That’s crazy right? A shower is supposed to make you feel better, isn’t it?
Well, before I got sick, I actually thought the idea of not taking a shower every day was disgusting. Yeah, I still think it’s not cool and somewhat disgusting but something as simple as taking a shower is a task that now takes all the strength and energy I can muster.
Sound like maybe I’m exaggerating? I mean, how can something that usually makes most people feel better actually be so difficult and dreaded? I know exactly what you mean, but I am not exaggerating or being dramatic. I used to LOVE showers! It was my favorite time of the day, well besides sleep. It was “me” time…my haven. It energized me and gave me optimism to face the day. Hell, there were times I would take a shower at night too…just to wash the stress and worries of the day down the drain.
Now, I have to build up the courage to step foot in the shower because the first five minutes is the like it is for everyone else…COLD!! Only now, it’s not just “uncomfortable”, it’s painful too! No one likes being cold, it’s annoying. But when you’re like me, being cold is now painful. I could write another paragraph about this, but trust me, it hurts! Just getting naked before getting in the shower has me covered in painful goose bumps.
I then have to brace myself and face the shock of the water hitting my skin. Each initial drop feels like being stung by a bee. After a few minutes, it diminishes to being poked with a thumb tack, so I begin washing my hair. This alone is exhausting, reaching above my head, scrubbing and rinsing and I haven’t even gotten to the conditioner yet. Some days I skip the conditioner just to be that much closer to being done. That’s what leave-in conditioner is for right?
Now I have to actually wash my body. At this point, I need to sit down on my shower chair because not only is my balance that of a 1-year-old trying to learn to walk but I would not be able to stand the entire time it takes me to shower. Trust me, I’ve fallen too many times! So, lather up the washcloth…reaching again and bending, trying to twist to reach my sides. All while still being poked with those annoying and sometimes painful thumbtacks, I mean drops of water.
By this time, I’ve convinced myself that I might as well endure this torture a little while longer to shave my legs, that is, if it’s a particularly good day…otherwise it’s rinse and get the hell outta there! If I managed to shave my legs, I feel like I just completed a particularly difficult Zumba work out….but I am not in the clear yet!
Now I have to get out and face the painful goose bumps again *sigh* and just when I managed to warm up a little after that intense work out. Most of the time I reach outside the shower and grab the towel leaving the curtain closed so it’s not so cold, but this doesn’t work all the time. I dry off as quick as I can while sitting in the shower chair.
Then if I’m feeling brave, I put on some lotion and get dressed. After all of that, there is no energy left to blow dry my hair or style it and forget make-up! I’m lucky to put socks on and it’s back to the couch to recover. So now maybe you understand that a nice hot shower isn’t necessarily going to make us feel better. It can actually sometimes make us hurt even more!