Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fibromyalgia and Getting Clean the Old-Fashioned Way

I dread even thinking about taking a shower. It is so tiring. If you do not have a chronic illness that causes you pain or tires you out, you may not understand this. Some people think of a shower as a pick-me-up while others use them to relax before bed. 

It is fearsome for me, because I get dizzy and tend to lose my balance. I have already fallen into my tub; thankfully, I landed my forearm on the side of the tub, while I hit my thigh on the toilet on the way down. I live alone, so if I were to fall and become unconscious, there is no one who would know.


I am old enough that I had grandparents around who were born in the early 1900's when indoor showers were rare. Baths were reserved for once a week, but "sponge baths" were taken regularly. One day, when even the thought of showering tired me out, I remembered my grandmother's sponge baths. 

Think about what is involved in showering: 
  • get the water running
  • pick out and lay out clothes (daytime or nighttime)
  • undress 
  • bend down or reach up to feel the water temperature and adjust if needed
  • get into the shower
  • wash and rinse your hair with your arms up for a long period of time
  • lather up your body and scrub all over
  • shave armpits and legs
  • rinse off
  • turn the water off and grab a towel - maybe two if you have long hair like I do
  • (wrap long hair in towel)
  • dry your body with the contortions needed to dry your back off
  • get out of the shower
  • dry off your feet by lifting legs onto the side of the tub or closed toilet lid
  • hang up the towel
  • get dressed
There you have it - 15 (16) steps. The drying off step is hard for me, because I am already tired out from standing so long, and performing contortions, to get clean; then I have to perform more contortions to dry off before getting dressed.

Now, with a sponge bath:
  • pick out and layout clothes
  • start water and grab wash cloth
  • wash the upper half of your body with a soap on the cloth
  • rinse and wring out cloth
  • rinse off body with cloth
  • wash and shave armpits, if needed
  • repeat the process with the lower half of your body
  • wash and shave legs, if needed, by lifting leg onto the side of the tub or closed toilet lid
  • rinse off armpits and legs with cloth
  • sit down and wash feet
  • get dressed
There you have it - 11 steps. Wash your hair in the kitchen sink. I find this easier, because I am leaning on the sink and not having to raise my arms over my head. 

BUT you can do the sponge bath method in stages: wash and rinse half your body, dress that half, then rest. When rested, clean the other half of your body and dress, then rest. When rested, wash your hair. The rest being the important thing. Plus, you can wash your hair at a different time of day, if desired.

I hope this helps someone else like it has helped me.

Enjoy!

-Amelia