Wet, Naked, Hard and Cold


So the title of this blog, though it looks like a good lead-in to a porno movie, is not. It’s actually something that happened to me a few months ago. I tried to write about it then, but I couldn’t. Today, I’ll write about it.

You see, as I do most days, a few months ago, I took a shower. Shortly after the shower was over, I found myself lying naked, wet, and cold, on the hard tile floor of our bathroom. I wasn’t doing this on purpose, mind you, and it wasn’t for fun, regardless of how dirty your mind is in interpreting the title. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it for fun, but… actually, I am. I am saying that. No, I would not lie naked on the tile floor of the bathroom just for fun.

I would say to get your mind out of the gutter, but I’ve never understood that idiom. Well, I mean, I understand it, but here’s the thing: sex  isn’t shameful or dirty. It’s not gross or nasty. Sex is fun. I like sex. Most people (though certainly not all) actually like sex, at least, they do when it’s done right. So to say that something that is sexually suggestive puts your mind in the gutter–where it’s nasty, dirty and gross–really doesn’t work for me. Plus, if thinking good sexy thoughts is the gutter, maybe I want to spend some time with my mind in the gutter. I mean, I like that kind of gutter… don’t you?


But before I digress too far here, let me get back on topic. Every time I go to the doctor, every single time, they ask the same questions: height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, pain level and my favorite, “Have you fallen anytime in the last year?” I can remember a time when I scoffed at the question and could easily say no. The question, then, actually seemed quite absurd to me.

But since being hospitalized multiple times these past two years, unfortunately, my answer has changed. I have fallen four times now since being released from the hospital, and there were a couple of times when I almost fell but managed to salvage it. Two of the times I’ve fallen have been trying to get in and out of the front door. We need to get me some ramps, I know, but the good ones are so expensive, I keep putting it off, finding other things I need or want more. But good ramps are really not a luxury for me right now. In public, I use a wheelchair. It’s just easier and faster and more pain-free for me to use one. It makes it easier on my family too, and we can move at a faster pace–I walk very slowly these days, and it is quite painful, not to mention how the CTEPH affects my breathing or how nerve compression causes me to not be able to feel my legs much of the time. It’s hard to trust your legs when you can’t feel them.

Let me try to help you understand: Have you ever sat with your legs crossed so long that they fell asleep? That feeling you get, when it’s so ‘asleep’ that you can’t feel it at all, before the pins and needles kick back in? Well, that’s how my legs are most of the time.


But at this point, we haven’t fully made the transition from me being able-bodied to me being wheelchair bound. Part of this is my own denial. It was a year ago I was still able to walk. Less than two years ago, I was active. Less than three years ago when I was playing basketball with my son and the boys in the driveway. Less than four years ago when I was running around all over town with my kids and going to ballgames and eating out and hanging out with the band again. Five years ago, which is about when all this really started going downhill, I never imagined that five years on, this is where I’d be.

Here I am.

So when I think about the way things are now, I am not yet ready to believe that THIS is all there is. I have days I lie in bed and cry, sobbing tears, angry at the world, angry at a God I am not sure I even believe exists any more, angry at the universe for making me have to deal with this. Then there are days I am resigned to my fate and try to accommodate it and live with it. Then there are days I fight against it with everything I have and try to gain back some of what has been lost, not even knowing if that’s possible. I am expecting a miracle, but preparing for the apocalypse.


Around the house, I still walk. The short distances between rolly chairs is easy enough and it’s good exercise for me, because my legs need to move. They NEED to move. Since my legs do still work, and it’s only the pain and my twisted back that are the main problem with walking, and since moving around helps with my breathing over the long run, I prefer, when the pain is tolerable, to walk around the house when I can. I have a walker, but because of how much pressure I have to put on it, it feels like it’s going to slide out from under me, and I’m afraid it will make me fall. PT is supposed to help me learn how to walk with one, but when it comes down to it, I trust myself and my own body better than a piece of equipment. We have to be careful, though, because I am very clumsy due to the shuffling gait and the fact I’m still awful weak compared to how I once was.

I have to get onto my kid about leaving his tennis shoes smack in the middle of the floor, and I’ve been known to trip over my oxygen tubing and dog toys. Heck, I’ve been known to trip over my own two feet. I’ve threatened to super glue my son’s shoes to his feet. Does anyone else have this problem with teenagers? It’s crazy. His belt and his shoes are always on the floor. I guess I can’t complain. I know one time Gregg had like four pair of shoes on the floor of the living room…. I didn’t even know he owned four pair of shoes. My kid is in good company, I guess, and men who leave shoes on the living room floor seem to be a common thing.

My point is, around the house, we aren’t really handicap accessible. There are lips on some of the thresholds, and we don’t have ramps for the front or back doors. So two of the times I’ve fallen, it’s been trying to go down the step at the front door to get to the car, both times on the way to a doctor’s appointment. I guess if you’re going to fall, on the way to the doctor already is as good a time as any to take a tumble. I’m not ‘allowed’ to walk out the front door now without a whole entourage surrounding me in case I fall. Yeah, right. Like I’m going to fall with everyone standing around staring at me, arms outstretched to catch me. Yup. It’s humiliating! And yet, I know they mean well, so I have all the loving kindness in my eyes when I smack their hands away and say, “Get the hell away from me…” You know, don’t want to be mean or anything.

This last time I fell, however, was in the bathroom. I was getting out of the shower, trying to step out of it at the same time I stood from the shower chair I use. My foot hit the towel on the floor, which I always use to keep from falling, but it missed the towel and the back heel hit the slick tile floor. Like the banana peel trick, my foot slid out from under me. I saw it coming, fortunately, so I was able to catch myself, somewhat, and slide down instead of fall down. That helped, but my ass hit the lip of the shower where you step into it, a metal lip that I must say hurts like a mofo when your ass lands on it. I had a nice swollen spot on my butt that was several different shades in color. I had to lean to the left butt cheek to sit comfortably.

HA HA HA HA HA HA! Sigh…. Ha!

It’s okay to laugh. I do. I was laughing when I fell too, mixed with the tears. My son was the first one to come and see me on the floor. My daughter was sweet and held my head up for me until we could figure out how to get me up. See, getting up when you’re wet, slippery and unable to ‘twist’ your back is not an easy task. I had slid down between the now open shower glass door and the tile half-wall divider between the tub and shower, part of me lying in the toilet cubicle and the rest of me stuck in front of the shower. We couldn’t close the shower door. There was nothing to grab a hold of, nothing to pull me up, and me trying to get up off the ground without bending or twisting, well, that just wasn’t going to happen on the slippery floor. When I had fallen outside, the ground had traction and I had shoes and it was easier to get me up.


In the end, there was a foot pedal hydraulic lift that we use to move furniture and our big televisions when we moved, and it works great to lift an item up to about tailgate height on a truck, so they brought that into the bathroom, covered the lift platform with a towel, and I slid unto it and they jacked it up until I was in a sitting position, then I could just stand up on my own. It was a clever idea. Embarrassing for me, in a way, but it worked. No fat jokes on this one, please, I was embarrassed enough without thinking about the inevitable junior high school jokes about, “Your mama is so fat they had to use a hydraulic lift to get her out of the shower!” It’s just, how do you get up when the people who grab your hands to pull you up end up on the slick wet floor simply sliding you between their legs? It was like doing the Lindy Hop, except, you know, without the dancing, music and fun. Wheeeee…. look at mama slide across the floor!

The hard part though, pain and all, wasn’t the fall itself or the bruises or the inability to get up by myself or even with help. The worst part was lying naked, wet, and cold, on the hard tile floor and feeling completely and totally helpless. I covered myself with a towel. I shivered. I sobbed. Ultimately, I picked myself back up, even with some outside help, but I got back up.

Then, I came into the bedroom, got dressed, put my hair up (let’s not even talk about how my hair is falling out now either — side effect of a medication I can’t stop taking), put on a little smell-em good stuff. Then I went to get in bed, and as I stepped to put one leg up on the bed, the heel of my foot was hit with a hot, searing pain. Don’t know what it was, but a little metal thing, looked like of like a spring coil for something that has a tension coil to it to hold it closed, was on the floor and the two little metal prongs, about 1/4 of an inch long, poked into the bottom of my heel. It didn’t hurt too bad at first, but this morning, the entire bottom of my heel hurts cialis generika rezeptfrei. Now I have to go see the doc and make sure it’s not infected, ’cause that’s what causes cellulitis with me, and I’ve been in the hospital too many times for cellulitis already. No more.


Well, I didn’t think the fall was too bad, but I ended up so sore when I woke up. I took a muscle relaxer and a pain pill and went back to bed. Woke up again super achy and sore, took another round of pills. Basically, I slept all day. I hate sleeping away an entire day, but sometimes you just do what you have to do. With the adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s Disease), falls and injuries and things that usually trigger an adrenaline rush in people usually trigger stiffness, soreness and shock-like symptoms to me. I probably should have stressed dosed my prednisone, but we’ve been trying to keep it as low as possible, so I didn’t, and the result was that I slept all day.


But I’m okay. When I go to the doctor next, they’ll ask me if I fell, and I’ll tell them I did, and they’ll ask me about bruising and bleeding, and ultimately, they’ll tell me I’m fine. There’s no real reason they need to know I fell, if I know I’m okay, and I am, with only a bit of my pride hurting me still. Who knew your pride was in your ass? But I do have to tell them, because for Social Security and insurance, things like mobility devices are only paid for if you are at risk, if you still have some mobility, and I think these falls recently show I’m clearly still at risk.


Hey, doc, when I get better, am I going to be able to dance? Sure, he says, you’ll dance as well as you ever did! Damn, I was hoping I’d get better–never was much of a dancer, you know. But I remember dancing around my house, cleaning when I’d get that spring cleaning bug. Cleaning was my frustration vent. I miss that. I have nothing physical I can do now to burn off that energy. How do you get physical when you don’t have physical capacity? I sometimes want to scream so loud and flail my arms around, but every time I try, I just lose my breath and end up panting and gasping. I don’t know… no release, no escape.

It’s like being trapped in a casing and unable to move, to really breathe.

But inside, I’m dancing. Even if I might just be wiggling to the beat, while naked on the bathroom floor.

One day at a time… one breath at a time… one dream at a time…

Love and stuff,

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One Response to “Wet, Naked, Hard and Cold”

  1. Joel says:

    wow… -kinda puts my so-called body aches and pains in perspective…

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