Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Long Hot Shower Of The Soul

My private room in ICU in Red Deer was wonderful. It was huge, at least the size of my living room. It had a good-sized closet, at least two chairs that looked fairly comfortable, and laminate flooring. A bar fridge would have fit right in.

It also had a bed with a mind of its own. It was a pressure bed. Wonderful things. Great inventions. But it would raise and lower assorted parts of my body whenever it decided they needed shifting.
I could have unplugged it, but then I wouldn’t have been able to raise the head of the bed. Rather than fight I simply accepted these random launchings.

I was still hooked up to a cardio monitor and it was just as sensitive as all the others. However, this one had a long lead line and it gave me a significant amount of freedom within my own room.

I’d been in a hospital since Friday and I hadn’t been able to clean myself all that well. A quick wipe with a wet washcloth was about it. On Tuesday I was offered the chance to take a shower and I was all for it. Cleanliness aside, it meant I could get out of bed, stand up for awhile, walk a bit, and be untethered.

Freedom.

It also meant I was stable enough that it was okay for me to do this.
The shower room was about 100 feet away and around a corner. I was accompanied there, given towels and a new gown, and then left to my own devices.

Oh, bliss. The long hot shower of the soul. I hated to get out and go back to bed, but I knew if I stayed too long someone would be along to make sure I was okay.
When I stepped out a nurse was just coming along to see about me. When she saw I was okay she went about her business and I walked back to my room alone.

I was a fugitive. I’d escaped bed rest. I was walking and it felt good. So good. Then I had to stop and rest as my chest felt very heavy and I was a wee bit unsteady and that wasn’t so good. I was okay though. I got back to my room all by myself and washed my feet. I’d forgotten to wear shoes to the shower room and hospital floors are absolutely filthy.

Until I experienced bed rest and being tethered to machines I didn’t realize it’s a treat to walk to a shower.

Later than day I was moved to the cardiac unit at the University of Alberta hospital. I had a private room with my own shower. Much as I appreciated walking, having my very own shower was even better.

5 comments:

the Bag Lady said...

It's amazing, isn't it, how something as simple as a hot shower can do wonders for the way a person is feeling? "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" mother used to say. Don't know about that, but it's darn cheering.

Leah J.Utas said...

dfBag Lady - I never understood that cleanliness/Godliness business.
But yeah, a hot shower does wonders.

Reb said...

Especially if you have been denied one for a day or two! But it is scary having just a shower and a little walk slow you down isn't it?

Crabby McSlacker said...

Isn't it amazing how restorative a shower can feel? I think you're smart to be so consciously appreciative of all the routines you're getting to return to. Some people could easily get stuck in a "why me" frame of mind about the heart problems, especially someone as health as you!.

Leah J.Utas said...

"Why me" whining is pretty easy to fall into, Crabby, and it serves no purpose.
Thanks for your kind words.