For most people a shower is just a routine part of their day. It takes no more preparation than making sure you have shampoo and soap and clothes to put on afterward. Not so, if the person who needs a shower is in a wheelchair and cannot help themselves.
When I first started bathing Lynn, I had a shower seat I put in the tube. I lifted him onto the seat, shifted his legs over the edge of the tube and used a hand-held spray to bathe him. It was difficult to reach over the side of the tube to do the bathing and we both usually were soaked by the end. My back also was usually aching by then too. We choose this method because it was the only room I could get a wheelchair into since bathroom doors are more narrow than other doors. (why is that by the way?)
Then friends took off the door and door jams to bedroom bath. This was a better option. This allowed him to go from toileting to a shower seat and he was stationed under the shower better. However, this was VERY hard on my back. I had to lift him from the wheelchair to the toilet to the shower seat and then reverse the process back (while he and I were still wet). It was very hard and rather dangerous but we could not get the wheelchair close enough to do any better.
Then our church got us a shower we could roll a wheelchair into. That was wonderful. I lifted him from the transport wheelchair onto the shower seat. It allowed me to be in the shower with him and not get wet but have plenty of room to bathe him. The only issue was lifting him back into the wheelchair while he was wet. This didn’t feel very safe and a few times I wasn’t sure I would make it from the shower seat to getting him back safely into the wheelchair due to slippery surfaces.
Then we hit upon the perfect answer…a shower wheelchair! Now we have the best of both worlds. I can roll him into the shower, stay fairly dry while I bathe him and I don’t have to lift him while he’s wet.
But still, shower day is a big job. It takes a lot of preparation time to get everything ready, then time for the bathing and drying and dressing. I always wait until after I bathe him to take my own bath because I get pretty sweaty from working in the hot shower but this is SO much better than what we had before.
One word of caution though. Today I was going to save time by coloring my hair while I also bathed him. I put the color on and put a shower cap over it. You’re only supposed to have the color on for about 30 minutes. We had some unexpected events with the shower today and an hour later, I still had not washed out the color! Nothing happened…I still have my hair and the color’s okay so no big deal but trying to combine the two might not be such a good idea in case you’re ever considering doing the same thing!