There’s something about having your mobility limited by a bum leg that, at least for me results in a slackening of personal hygiene standards. Oh, I’m sure there are intrepid souls,with much greater physical limitations, some permanent, who keep themselves nicely buffed and polished. But I’m just not that big on overcoming obstacles. Since I’ve worked around Crohn’s disease for most of my life, maybe it’s because I have obstacle burn out. I know, I hear you saying, “That’s nothing man look what so and so has dealt with!” But I guess you pick the hurdles you want to jump and those you just avoid.
Mounting two flights of stairs to the shower, being limited to one legged or sitting sponge baths because of unhealed incisions, requiring accompaniment to the bathroom, difficulty in disrobing, not wanting other folks to handle my private bits, the list goes on, are all to be avoided in my world. After the hip incident, I didn’t shower for three weeks. I had daily sponge baths in my room, but that’s just not the same. Of course there are problems with this avoidance. Aside from the feeling that you are covered with a patina of filth, one develops a certain fragrance. Maybe “stench” is a better word.
Most of the folks in the trenches of health care, the nurses, aids, therapists and wheelchair pushers are probably used to it. They never mention it and if you do, they downplay it. “Heavens no, you don’t stink.” But their body language and facial expressions give them away. I don’t play poker for nothin’ dude. And of course there are other indications. The looks on their faces when they come into the room and ask if you’d like to wash up now or if you’d had a shower yet. In rehab I had a chance for a shower but I had an unhealed incision in my hip, so I refused. I’m sure if I’d stayed much longer they would have dragged me in kicking and screaming. Well maybe not kicking.
Family and friends can be more brutally honest. Especially college age daughters. Young women will really let you know where you stand. At least if you are their hopelessly clueless father. “What’s that smell?” “I think you really need a shower Dad.” “Dad, you stink.”
OK, I can live with it. And soon I’ll have a new knee and be walking and showering without assistance and I’ll be back to the old manly fragrance of Bob. With the occasional room filling cigar stench.
Have a great day!