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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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My shower/bath nightmare was when we renting a place that had glass shower doors on a track and there was a track filled with nasty slimy water running down the edge of the tub. I tried every way imaginable to get into the tub while avoiding sitting on that nasty track (not only was the water gross, but it gave quite the wedgie). But it was doubly hard because I had to fold my very tall self into half the width of the tub stall (because of the sliding glass doors taking the other half) as I attempted to vault across the track. It was just awful and quite dangerous.

Then one day I got out a hammer and crowbar and just completely took out the shower door thingy. It took like 5 hours and I hauled the whole unit straight to the dumpster. Wow, I've never taken a nice smooth tubside for granted since then (and btw, our landlord never seemed to notice the missing showerdoors and I can't believe I put up with that awful situation for two years before I went at it with tools!).


Oh, brava, Jana! Those sliding glass things are a menace.

Ironically, one of those sliding glass things in a hotel room bathroom is what first gave me an inkling I would ever be able to live without the plastic bench at all. The first summer after my amputation, my true love and I took a trip to Newport, and we did not reserve a specifically accessible room because I was in that stage where I was just getting used to be being visible, didn't want to be extra trouble, extra anything, and also, as now, didn't want to take resources from someone who might need them more. I also wanted to see how well I could do without special accommodations, sort of as a progress test.

In fact, this is the first place I used the towel trick. Since I was not going to be doing the laundry, I made no bones about getting extra towels and using one to thickly cover up that horrible track for both entering and exiting the tub. It helped a lot.

Nevertheless, I was grateful not to fall through the glass or drown. I really think those sliding glass things should be illegal.


I should add that my best solution for the track thing was to buy one of those foam pads that gardeners kneel on (about a foot long, about an inch thick) and sit that over the track as I transferred to the tub. I was just too chintzy to soak (and wash) a towel everyday just for transferring. And even a well-folded up towel didn't mitigate the wedgie factor, IMO.

I've never tried a showerchair nor have I had an adjustable showerhead (though the showerhead part does sound lovely). But I have had more than my share of scary experiences in hotel bathrooms w/slippery tubs/showerstalls. Now I usually just throw a handtowel on the floor of a hotel tub just in case it's a super-slippery one.


Excellent tips, Jana. Thank you.

The shower head is awesome. Some are even more awesome than what we have, lovely tools for self-pampering no matter how many legs you've got.

The chair, however, though a major source of annoyance on many counts, well earned its place on the list of many stupid little things that have probably saved my life. I have always been a big klutz, and the addition of soapy water to my environment at any given time has never been seen to mitigate that. If I couldn't have sat down while showering that first year, I would probably have broken my neck.


I just love your wry writing style. You have so many good tips here. I think you're completely correct; thinking about taking a bath without one of my limbs fills me with absolute terror. It takes a lot of bravery to keep going after something like amputation.


Axistive, I'm glad you like my writing (though I can't imagine your interest in it), but now I fear I might not have been clear.

While terror is a reasonable first response to facing the bathroom without one's original complement of limbs -- you know, a perfectly reasonable reflexive emotion -- the fact is that choosing to be ruled or controlled by that terror would be silly.

Luckily, it doesn't take courage to get past this, just a reasonable amount of smarts -- you know, caution but not panic, the right combination of tools, and conscientious strength-building practices -- and a will to be clean. And for some people it might also take a little bit of help from others. A little or a lot. (Honesty is also an important tool.)

Meanwhile, I've got to tell you as a point of etiquette, amputees, cancer patients, disabled people, and everyone who might be any combination of the three are as likely as not to punch you in the face if you call them "brave" or -shudder- "special." Many of us have gotten really, really sick of being expected to graciously serve as receptacles for other people's projections and expectations.

Naturally, this being just a blog, no one is going to punch you in the face here. But you should know that I don't welcome that kind of talk, and that I consider it delusional not complimentary. This blog is about getting on with life, all life, real life, as a real person who just wants to live, one of many real people who just want to live, and sharing conversations about that, including but not limited to honest assessments of the sucky bits and any workarounds we might have discovered along the way. If you (or any other visitor) are looking to thrill to True Tear-Jerking Tales of Desperate Courage, you're going to have to head elsewhere. Me, I've got a kitchen to clean.


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