I did it for the first time last Sunday, on day 104. I did it again yesterday, on day 113. It still makes me feel all shaky and adrenaline charged after I do it. What on earth am I talking about? Number ninety on my list. Yes, I showered!! Twice now and it was a big deal both times. Why? Well, really, if you have to ask that, you just haven’t been paying attention!
My shower is not handicap equipped. It’s actually rather scary and I’ve almost fallen in it when I could stand on both feet. It is your average shower with bathtub enclosure except that for some reason, it slopes downward toward the drain. It also gets incredibly slick. For these two reasons alone, I held off taking a shower for 104 days. Heck, for half of that time, I was afraid of slipping and cracking my head open just getting in and out of the tub. That didn’t involve any standing either, just lowering myself in and out of the tub by sitting on the side and swinging my legs around. If tragedy occurred and I slipped and fell from standing, there is nothing but the shower curtain to grab onto so I’d definitely be taking that down and probably the rod too. So, you see, the thought of all that had been a deterrent.
Well, I’ve been feeling a little frisky as of late, a little daring. So last Sunday, tired of not being able to just take a quick shower, I said to myself—why not? I turned on the water and sat on the side of the tub, my feet resting in the middle of the tub. Since there is nothing to hold onto, I was a little nervous. I removed the soap from the soap holder that is built into the side of the wall. I shoved my right knee into the place where the soap was, pivoted around on my left foot to face the showerhead and stood up. I wasn’t going to move it for the duration of the shower. I figured as long as I didn’t move my left foot, it wouldn’t slip and I wouldn’t end up killing myself, or worse, further injury. It would act as a kind of suction cup stuck to the bathtub floor. Kind of like those toys that have the suction cup on the bottom and a spring on it that pops up and flies through the air. Of course, I didn’t want to any popping upward and flying through the air to happen.
As evidenced by me writing this now, I survived. It was a fairly quick shower and I kneeled down at the end in order to safely exit the tub. By the end, my entire body was shaking and I was grinning from ear to ear. I had done what I thought I could not do and that is always a tremendously fantastic feeling. Yesterday’s shower was a similar experience. I felt so good about it I decided to do more. (Because, of course, some is good, more is better!)
I had been really lazy yesterday. I had accomplished very little and it was nearing 3 o’clock when I finally showered. Instead of beating myself up about it, I decided that since I was extremely productive the day before, I would be okay with not getting a whole lot accomplished. Then I decided, well, why not do something unexpected? Let’s go out! It’s a beautiful day and I could use the fresh air and sunshine. I had this idea last week that I could scooter somewhere and work remotely, like a coffee shop. Since I didn’t want coffee, (and had finished my work) I thought I’d go ahead and scooter over to the small shopping area near my house.
There is a little wine store that I decided would be my destination. It was a little less than half a mile over to the store. I did it in about 10 minutes, safely (sort of—thanks, guy from California who tried to run me down in a crosswalk!!) across two streets. The lady who owns the store was just opening the door to let in some of the beautiful fresh air as I wheeled up to the door. She asked if I was coming in and I said, I sure am! I perused the selection and ended up getting three bottles. I had brought both a regular cloth bag and a wine bag so the bottles wouldn’t bang against each other. I looped the bags around the handle of the scooter and made my way over to the park.
My idea was to sit in the sun in the park for a little bit before heading home. Unfortunately, there is no good way to get into the main part of the park that doesn’t involve stairs. I decided to go back into where the shops are to a little courtyard with benches. There is a bunch of gravel in the courtyard instead of solid ground. I pretty much just dragged the scooter across the gravel to one of the benches. Fortunately it wasn’t very far as it was rather awkward to drag it especially with the extra weight of the wine bottles. I sat down on a bench and propped my foot up on the scooter. It was pretty much perfect weather and I just enjoyed being outside, soaking up the sun, a cool breeze blowing across my face and feeling a little independence.
After a while, I got up to go home. This was probably the most challenging part of the outing. The sidewalks have access grates for the electric department so they were really bumpy and uneven. Couple that with a very steep hill and the weight of the wine pulling back on the scooter and my only choice was to put the breaks on, take a step then ease off the break while pushing the scooter up the hill. Luckily it wasn’t a long hill. I stopped by the clubhouse to get my mail. I was glad that no one was parked in the space next to the handicap access ramp. I made it home and crawled up the stairs with my loot. The entire trip was a little less than a mile and I stayed out a little over an hour.
I was very pleased with being able to accomplish this challenge. I plan to go out more now I know I can manage it. Even better news is that in a little over a week (October 11) I will have my next appointment with the surgeon. The plan is to x-ray my foot to see how it is healing and then hopefully get the go ahead to start doing partial weight bearing. I hope that also means I will be going into physical therapy. I’m really looking forward to begin to learn how to walk again!! Until then, I will keep giving myself mini-challenges both in and outside the house!