Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Libby combs her hair in the living room after her shower Saturday morning.

I could volunteer to help Libby with her shower, but I doubt she would accept. Otherwise I've assisted the rest of my sisters in the shower over the past couple of weeks. I've also washed Aaron's hair.

Betsy came home from the hospital with a shower chair, which her injured siblings have used as well. Insurance companies generally consider a shower a luxury and balk at providing a shower chair. But a lady at the hospital secured one for Betsy, maybe aided by the fact that she has long hair.

Julie's shower arrangement is ingenious. She must lie flat on her back, except to roll to her left side briefly for her bed-bath or to have the sheets changed. The care facility has a shower bed. It's constructed of a plastic backboard supported by PVC pipe on wheels. Under the bed it has a basin to catch the water.

It takes five nurses (not counting the pregnant one who was only allowed to supervise) to transfer Julie to the shower bed. They lift her on her air mattress from the bed to the shower bed. The air mattress gets a shower too. Then they roll her to the shower room where they use a shower wand, blobs of shampoo and conditioner, and a stack of towels and wash clothes almost as tall as me. My job was to use a squeegee to move the water toward the drain so it didn't flood Room 13 again.

Once Julie's body and hair is clean, they wheel her back to her room where another nurse has placed a new deflated air mattress and clean sheets on the bed. Then the five nurses swoop Julie up on her air mattress and deposit her on the bed. They let the air out of the first air mattress and Julie rolls on her side as they fold and roll the mattress under her. Julie rolls to her back and they gently tug the first mattress loose. Then they inflate the second air mattress and Julie is clean and dry in her bed.

A shower is a luxury.


  1. Wow...what a creative and ingenious way to accomplish a shower for someone in Julie's current situation! Hurrah for whoever invented that little system...

    Your description was awesome...I could envision everything you were talking about. Thanks for providing that!

    ~ Love, Betsy O.

  2. Wow...I'm going to appreciate my shower so much more now! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow, I might never take a shower for granted again! :-)