Mike's blog - the occupational hazard
To be honest it was probably my own fault. I did ask for it!
It was me that called the Occupational Therapist to request whether I could get hold of a small step into the bath. Lifting my leg over the side of the bath is trickier than it used to be, and I had hoped this could help getting to and from the shower each morning.
It was me too that, having been denied a step on ‘safety grounds’, caved in to her persistence that the answer would instead come from a swivel bath seat. Rather than relying on a good old fashioned handle on the wall, that I have been using to access the bath for over five years, the recommended solution was a rotating plastic chair mounted on a metal frame, a weird contraption that fits over the bath rim. I would be able to sit on the outside of the bath, swing myself around 90 degrees, and then sit (rather than stand ‘so precariously’) while I showered.
After I had reluctantly agreed, this week a new swivelling bath seat mounted on a rigid and sturdy framework was delivered.
Once fitted, my perilous days of showering standing up would be over. No more steadying myself against the wall tiles as I lathered myself under warm water. No, now I could sit back and wash myself with no fear of wobbling about in the, quite clearly, dangerous upright fashion I had managed for the previous forty six years. Apparently, I had been lucky, really, to have got this far without causing myself a serious injury.
Within the first 24 hours of it’s arrival, however, and while I was still familiarising myself with the new contraption, disaster struck. Bleary-eyed but having sucessfully started the shower I navigated my position to a seated ‘hover’ under a warm waterfall, and soaped myself thoroughly. Wishing to increase the water temperature, I got out of the seat and stood up to reach the shower. A mistake. As I adjusted the controls my feet slipped in the wet tub. Staggering backwards as I struggled to regain balance, I crashed into the framework, tripped over the swivelled seat and was thrown into the bath.
As I toppled my head cracked against the wall, one of my legs slid underneath the frame and I became trapped like a beached whale. Flat on my face with soap stinging my eyes, I attempted to manoeuvre myself out from under the twisting chair, but realised that in my blind panic to avoid being showered with now scaulding hot water, I’d become wedged fast.
I spent the next five minutes getting progressively weaker and weaker as I flapped about in the bath like a hooked trout. When I did manage to wriggle free it was all I could do to haul myself onto all fours, scramble out of the tub and colapse onto the cold bathroom floor.
After a brief rest, blinded and still dripping with shower gel, I summoned up enough energy to crawl to the towel rail, grab a dry towel and cover my shivering body. Neither very dignified, nor the most relaxing shower I have ever had!
Thankfully it has now been removed and relegated to the storeroom, while I search out wheels that I can attach to the frame and turn it into a go-cart … That would have to be safer!