Tag Archives: bath

Overcoming Obstacles

Shockingly, I haven’t had a bath for over nine years.

Where once I liked nothing more than wallowing in boiling hot, heavily-scented water with a good book to hand, MS heat intolerance has rendered this a sepia-tinted memory.

The only problem is, my shower is over this bath, a pre-MS relic. It is also very curved, very high to step in to and completely impractical. My feet are never quite flat in the bath, I’ve fallen out a good few times, once cracking my head on the toilet (very unglam) and now I live alone, taking a shower each day is a persistent worry. Despite my friend installing a couple of grab rails, it’s an obstacle course.

I am my own worst enemy, in that I rarely ask for help. Instead, I muddle along, accommodating way beyond what is reasonable. Desperation drove me to apply for a Council Disabled Facilities Grant and I didn’t hold out much hope. The plan was to take the bath out and replace with a large walk-in shower, something my paltry income would never extend to.

A wonderful Occupational Therapist visited me at home, chatted through everything with me, had a good look at the offending bath and agreed we had A Problem. The relief was intense. She filled in forms for me, contacted my MS nurse and asked the Council to visit me for a Financial Review. This took place last week and I had every single piece of paperwork to hand, with the upshot being that I am poor enough to qualify for help.

I cannot describe the utter relief that something I am increasingly finding so difficult will now be made so easy. I think all of us constantly scan obstacles and work out how to make them easier – I took my kitchen door off its hinges when I walked into it too many times. I have a cordless vacuum after tripping over the cord far too often. I ignore dust, batch-cook when I have energy and live off re-heated meals when I don’t. I don’t work when I can’t and I do when I can. It’s all about being flexible.

I wish I had asked for help much sooner, but pride got in the way. Now, I can’t wait to not worry about having a shower. It sounds so simple?

If I have any advice, it would be, don’t wait until you put your health in danger as I did, ask. You may be knocked back but just keep asking.

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A Pow Wow and a Lobster

It all started yesterday when my boss found me slumped against the plasterboard, eyes glazed. We had a quick pow wow and we’ve agreed I just can’t work two days in a row. It’s too much and far too physically demanding when I’m trying to cope with the MS symptoms.

He was brilliant and we now have a new plan. I will work single days with him, with time off for rest in between and if I’m just not up to it, he will let me loose on updating his website from home. Excellent. I could have cried in gratitude but my eyes were all gritty with brick dust.

I got back home a happy bunny. Exhausted but happy. So there was nothing I wanted more in the world than a nice, hot, steaming, bubbly bath. Mr Matey was lined up, the cat was out and I had the house to myself. Bliss. Just one thing I forgot – since having MS, I can’t have hot baths any more.

This is a sneaky symptom of MS. I am completely heat intolerant – Uhthoff’s phenomenon to give it it’s posh name. My last ever bath (hey, I do shower!), was a disaster. I had a slight inkling before and would have shorter and shorter baths without realising quite what was going on. But this final time, I ran a lovely bath, eased myself into it, let out a long sigh and lay back.

Wonderful. Except it wasn’t. As if a switch had gone off, I was suddenly completely drained of energy, my limbs wouldn’t move properly and my whole body was throbbing and tingling in pain.¬†When I finally managed to clamber out, I looked like a demented lobster. My face was bright red and I looked ill. I staggered downstairs and lay on the sofa for an hour or so until I recovered.

So, sadly, I am resigned to a life of showers. It’s just not the same, is it? Nobody relaxes in a shower. Unless it’s one of those hi-tec ones with an in-built telly and water jets firing at you from every direction, massaging you into submission. And where can you keep a rubber duck in a shower?

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