a shower chair, safety bar, and detachable shower head

Personal Hygiene

Most days I must coax myself into showering. It’s as if I am coaxing a child, trying to get them to see my way. Most of us know it is one of the toughest things we do. The humidity of the hot water, the restriction of being in a closed area, and the activity it takes to wash our bodies and hair are truly exhausting for most of us.

Getting started

It is important that we manifest a good outcome and work at keeping our thoughts positive. We have done this many times in the past and we have always survived, so this time will be no different. Taking your time, do the following things to prep:

  • Keep a towel and a washcloth at hand. The towel is for the floor and the washcloth is for you.
  • Soap, shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer should be within reach.
  • A fresh razor is ready for armpits and legs. Nail clippers for your toes.
  • Your terry robe should be handy for when you exit the shower.
  • Fresh clothes or PJ’s to hop into when your shower is done.

Accessories

Here are some accessories that I have found helpful:

  • I use a showering stool that is meant for just this task. Stools vary in textures - some are wood, but most are durable plastic and they come in many styles. Some have backs on them, and others don’t. It is all about your preference and the size of your tub or shower.
  • We installed a long hose with our shower head. That gives me control of where the water is going as well as the temperature of the water. I have a hanger for the showerhead at sitting height in the tub. This allows me to turn the water off and on while controlling temperature and force.
  • Of course, my shower was professionally fitted with two grab bars, one on the side of me and one in front of me.
  • Being too claustrophobic to use doors on my shower, I have a plastic curtain that stays in the tub and stops water from leaking or escaping.
  • I leave the window open a bit and leave the door ajar to help release some of the humidity quicker.
  • I use supplemental oxygen in the shower. I take my cannulas and hang them over the shower curtain rod and let them hang so they don’t get mixed in with the water.

My process

I first sit in the shower without water until my breathing becomes even with no huffing and puffing. Slowly, I turn the water on and get my feet and calves wet. Leaving the plug in, I can soak my feet with little effort.

Washing my feet and legs then shaving my legs help me acclimate to the water temperatures. Slowly holding the wand and moving it up my body until I am finally wetting my hair, and I am now in the thick of this shower.

I take this opportunity, while my feet have soaked in the bathwater and my nails are soft, to clip my toes nails. I have just enough energy to finish washing my hair and with another rinse, the worst of it is over.

Now for a snuggle in my robe on my bed while I regain my breath.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.