“Wow! I feel so refreshed after that shower!” said no person with POTS, ever. Showering is not a relaxing pastime. Nor is it ever possible to have a ‘quick shower’ with POTS, so let’s forget that idea right off the bat. Showers take time, preparation and energy. Lots and lots of energy.
First things first. You have to ask yourself, do I REALLY need this shower? Am I going to be in close proximity to other human beings? Will a GP or member of the opposite sex be poking around anywhere? Am I 100% sure I can no longer get away with wet wipes and dry shampoo? If the answer to any of those is NO, hold off on the shower.
Next ask yourself, do I have the energy? Do I have the time? Am I well enough? Again, if the answer to any of these is NO then leave the shower. It’s not worth the risk. Wet wipe, dry shampoo, deodorise, and pray to whichever God you prefer that you don’t smell too bad.
So the stars have aligned and everything has fallen into place, today is the day! You will be clean!! First things first, the prep. I try and lie down for a rest before my shower, in preparation for the ordeal to come. Also I hydrate and make sure I’m in the middle of my midodrine dose, optimum time for exertion. If I’m feeling particularly with it I’ll strip off while laid on the bed. If not I end up teetering on the side of the bath, desperately trying not to lose my balance whilst removing my two pairs (minimum) of socks.
Suitably undressed it’s time to hop on in the shower!! (Because it’s just that simple, NOT) Hold on to anything and everything. Ideally a handle. But if not use the sink or a handily placed husband or partner. Whatever you do DO NOT grab onto the shower door. This will end in your naked wet body hitting the floor at speed.
You’re in!! Woop woop!! If you’re lucky you will have a shower chair. I, unfortunately, am not lucky. My shower is over the bath and there is no chair that will fit. If at all humanly possible I will stand in the shower. However, if I’ve ignored my own advice and pushed myself to shower when I shouldn’t, I often end up sat in the bath with the shower over me. This often makes me shiver uncontrollably as my legs are out in the cold air and not under the nice warm water. Fun times!
Notice I said warm. Not hot. Hot showers are things I dream of. They’re like a paradise just out of my reach. I can’t do hot showers anymore, my body punishes me with hives and syncope if I try.
Ok, so you’re finally in the shower. It’s about this point I usually need to pee. Do I really want to go through the rigmarole of getting out of this bloody shower?? I’ll let you answer that one.
Now it’s time to wash. First things first, let’s get the hair out of the way. Get your shampoo, try not to swear too much when you drop it (again), if possible use your handily placed husband to pick it up for you. Otherwise, try and have several shampoo and soap options, so if you drop one, or five, you aren’t having to bend down to get them. Wash your hair as quickly as possible as raising your arms is not only painful, but induces your symptoms. As the soap washes down your body swoosh it about in order to give everywhere else a clean. Grab your razor and go to town on those arm pits. Consider, for a millisecond, shaving other places. Then sigh and realise you’re done. Your energy ran low about the point you got undressed, and now you’re running on empty. Maybe next time?
Shaking uncontrollably grab onto the sink, your husband, anything. Keep a tight hold onto everything at this point, everything except your dignity. There’s no place for dignity with POTS. We laugh in the face of dignity! Stumble, clamour or crawl towards your bed. Preferably wrapped in a towel, but don’t fret if that’s too much effort. You’re in your own home, a bit of nakedness is fine!
Finally you made it! You’re freezing and wet, but you’re clean!! Congratulate yourself as you collapse on the bed and rest, whilst contemplating if you can cancel your plans. Because now you’ve showered your done!
What about drying yourself, you ask? I just peed in the shower and didn’t bother to shave my legs (again), do you honestly think I’m gonna dry myself when the air will take care of that for me?! Nope… Besides, the ‘just dragged through a hedge backwards’ look suits me.
There was an illustration here which I have been asked to remove. As soon as I’m well enough I’ll create one of my own to replace it.