The Shame of a Shower Chair

Last month, I was hospitalized for the majority of its entirety.

Upon each release, it was evident how weak I had become when attempting to take a shower.

I was extremely weak, to the point where I could barely shower by myself, unattended. I knew that at some point I had to suck it up to ensure my own safety. I made the decision to invest in a shower chair, despite the shame I had given myself for needing more assistance than “an average” person.

The first time I used my shower chair, I set down a washcloth on the chair and just sat.

I remember laughing at one point because for once, I was completely comfortable trying to get in and out without fear of falling – which I tend to do a lot.

I wanted to use this humbling experience to tell others it’s OK to accept various forms of help and assistance.

I never thought that because of the weakness and atrophy of multiple hospital stays and general physical decline, it would require me to use another assistive device. The only other time I’ve used a shower chair is when I’ve been hospitalized for long lengths of time and others had to help wash me up because I was too weak to do it myself.

So why, after nearly 14 years of living with this disease, did I find myself ashamed to be using different assistive devices?

I think taking away personal skills like cleaning yourself can be a very embarrassing, yet humbling experience for many people and it’s hard to admit to yourself that you need that level of care/assistance to get through your day. It’s extremely hard to ask for help sometimes, especially when you are stubborn and independent. I knew that by using this chair I saw myself as less independent. But I also realized that by using this chair, I was still able to be more independent (didn’t need to have someone else in the house to make sure of my safety, falls, etc.). By using the chair, I knew I wasn’t compromising my own safety and didn’t need to bother someone to come sit in my home to make sure I was safe anymore or go to someone else’s home to shower to feel safe.

I’ve learned there is nothing to feel shameful of by asking and accepting help when your body is telling you that you need the extra help.

Using an assistive device like a shower chair makes us no different than anybody else completely their activities of daily living, despite how different we may feel. If it makes us feel more safe and efficient, why not!?

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

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