Sometime last week, I augmented my collection of bathroom safety devices with the most impressive addition to date: a “Deluxe Aluminum Shower Chair with Back” (pictured below).
I already owned a bath bench (notably backless), as well as a grab bar, which was recommended to me by the occupational therapist I saw last year at the osteoporosis clinic (but don’t quote me on that; all of my medical appointments begin to run together at a certain point).
The CCAC-deployed occupational therapist doing a home assessment last Monday suggested that these items weren’t enough.
“Would you consider getting a shower chair with a back?” he asked, using, I’m nearly positive (but again, don’t quote me), exactly those words.
“Do you think I should?” was my admittedly idiotic response. He maintained his professional, friendly demeanour, though I thought I sensed a new gentleness in his voice, the kind that people sometimes can’t help but employ when they’re dealing with someone who’s a little hard of understanding.
“Well, yes, I’d say it’s a good idea, but it’s ultimately your call.”
He offered to order one through the government-funded care agency through which I’ve been getting in-home physiotherapy and now occupational therapy, repeating that I could take time to consider whether it was something I wanted to bring into my life. When we sat down to go over the things I’m doing wrong around my apartment and how I should change them (my pessimistic framing, not his; he’s a super positive dude with an unidentifiable accent [not a relevant point] who’s already been very helpful), I told him to go ahead and put in the request.
Since I was expecting a non-enormous other package that day and didn’t expect the chair to arrive for a while yet, it was a bit of a shock for all concerned—me, my husband, and the visiting relative who answered the door—when the fully assembled, rather large, safety device was delivered to our door less than forty-eight hours later. My husband wrangled it up the stairs and put it in the kitchen for the three of us to admire.
“Is it going to be too wide for the bathtub?” he pondered aloud, gauging its girth. To satisfy his curiosity, he got up from the couch, walked over to the bath chair, and sat down. We agreed that since he fit nicely both on the chair and in the tub, it would—logic!—likely be OK. We then left it as extra kitchen seating for a few hours (out of pure laziness) before moving it to its rightful place.
It looks like it’s been there forever. Like it’s meant to be there.
The first real test, of course, came when I gave it its initial trial run. What point, after all, is there in owning a useless aluminum bath chair with back, even if it is “deluxe”?
Without going into too many details, this shower-chair business has improved my bathing experience in more ways than I can count. Shower/bath safety has presented difficulties for years now. Sit-down showers are what have usually been suggested to me; however, I’ve always found them awkward and problematic, like I both can’t breathe and am getting dirtier rather than cleaner. I love baths, but even with safety adjustments in place, they’re probably not an incredibly intelligent way to get clean for those of us with relatively frequent seizures (in fact, I’ve have a seizure or two while mid–bubble bath; luckily, my husband has been there to help me). But now I’ve found my EZ-Boy of shower chairs, and for the time being, and until I’m cleared to partake in that stand-up deal I’ll call a “sucker’s shower,” primarily to make myself feel better about my own situation, I’ll continue lounging on my aluminum-framed tub accessory as I lather and rinse my still-short hair, convincing myself that the shower-chair company is missing out on a significant potential market by not directly advertising to the young and able-bodied.