Talking Story

showering with a cast

towelsI took a shower all by myself today. Usually, the best you could say about that is how boring and the worst congratulations, did you feed yourself, too?

Well, yeah, I did, but that’s another blog post.

Life lately has been full of small victories and accomplishments that on the surface don’t look like much. When you’ve got a foot in a cast that you can’t put any weight on and are congenitally crutch-challenged, things like stairs and showers and cooking a meal feel like summiting Mt. Everest, swimming the Atlantic, and feeding the 5,000 with a couple of fish and a loaf of bread. You know it can be done—you even remember doing it, but the complications of managing too many things with too few hands and keeping track of things that can get wet vs. things that can’t become like solving a physics problem.

And I never liked math.

Yeah, I knew about the surgery a month before it happened and prepared for all the anticipated things, but of course, it’s what you don’t expect that bites you in the butt. Along with stocking the fridge, I should’ve headed to the gym and built up muscles in arms, shoulders, and gut. I should’ve practiced standing on one leg while the dogs and cats swarmed underfoot. But one thing I did get right was preparing for showers.

Here’re my tips to make bathing with a cast easier.

Stretch_wrapWaterproofing

This is genius and will work for any cast you can get a garbage bag over. You will need:

  • A kitchen garbage bag
  • A roll of stretch plastic wrap, the kind that’s used to wrap things for shipping.

Put the bag over the cast and fold it tight against the skin, getting most of the air out. Take the plastic wrap and wrap the edge of the kitchen bag against the skin several times. Make sure you’ve stretched it tightly enough that it creates a waterproof seal. The best part? After the shower you can simply lift the self-sealed edge, unwind it, and reuse the bag.

The Chairshower chair

If you can’t stand on both legs, having a place to sit makes it much easier to manage soap and water. A snazzy official chair like this one is really cool, but any water safe seat—like a kitchen step stair—will work, too.

showerThe Nozzle

A hand sprayer is not absolutely necessary, but it does help with getting shampoo out of hair and soap out of all the crevasses. Several years ago we installed a combination hand and wall mount shower in the guest bathroom so we could more easily bathe the dogs. My husband handily swapped it out for the one in our master bath. If this isn’t an option, have a small bowl or big cup handy to fill and strategically splash.

It all sounds silly, I know, but never underestimate the healing power of good salt scrub and freshly shampooed hair. Guaranteed to wake the dead.

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