If you asked me just 1 month ago, how long it would take me to get ready (shower, dress, out the door) I would tell you about 30 minutes. I could do everything that I needed to do. I could even throw on some makeup to add a little glam.
Since the accident, It takes 1-2 hours or more on a good day, and the help of one to two people to help me get washed up and put clean clothes on. I cannot even dress without the help of another person. My shoulder prevents me from being able to reach, and the boot on my foot and the knee injury prevent me from being able to fully bend my knee. The 1-2 hours does not even cover time to wash my hair or even wash my bad leg. One task that is a three persons job is to wash my hair. I was a person who every day no matter what, my hair was washed. It’s the one thing that is important to me. Since the accident, I am lucky to have it washed twice per week. If I want to wash my right leg, it’s a two-day event. I have to remove one brace at a time; we wash my knee / thigh area first; washed, dried and the brace put back on. Then the next day, I remove the boot, and my shin and foot are washed, dried and re-booted. All of the processes not only take help from my mom and Steve, but it exhausts me. I am wiped out, and most of the time, I end up going to lie down.
Most of the time, we use the evening time to pick of the three tasks that need to be done. Since it’s not every day that I can wash my right leg or my hair, it’s one thing that has become part of our bi-weekly routine.
When I talk about losing my independence, I also have to talk about losing my privacy. I no longer can say, “I’m going to take a shower…” and go do it alone. Now when I want to bathe, I have to make sure that both mom and Steve are available. I have to have them gather the needed supplies. I have to have one of them help me remove my clothes. Then while I sit naked one of them help me wash. I am 38 years old, and I need my husband or my mother help me to do something that I should be able to do.
I know that this is temporary, and this will pass, and I will be able to do all of these things for myself again in a few months. How do I ever get over this? How do I mentally move past this? How do I thank both my mom and Steve for doing things for me, which they did not sign up for? I know they do it because they love me, but how do I get past this?
When I talk about choices that people make affect others, this is one very important part. I have lost my independence, dignity, and privacy. I have endured having photo’s taken of my naked body to document the bruising and injuries. I have had to do this several time to document the progression of injuries. I have to ask for help to do the simplest of tasks. I have to rely on my family to help me bathe, fix my food, and get me even a glass of ice water. The choice that one person made has greatly affected my life.