With the sound of the door closing behind the nurse, I turned my attention toward the task at hand. Just like I would have done at home, I began with washing my hair so the conditioner could sit while I doing everything else.
I really hadn't thought about how long that approach would leave me sitting with a wet head when it was time to turn my attention to flushing the wounds that brought me to the shower in the first place.
I have been a practitioner of a five minute shower ever since my boarding school days when the whole process had to be completed in under that time or else cold water would come flying over the wall, projected there by an angry student waiting in line for her turn. That means I am rarely in the shower long enough to experience getting cold so it never crossed my mind in these circumstances despite the fact that I had learned getting cold caused my pain levels to go through the roof that I should be thinking about how I would stay warm through this process.
My shower started off pleasant enough. There was a conglomeration of plastic and tape over my ostomy bag to keep it dry and the area of my incision was still covered with a dressing. I decided upfront I would let the water loosen it so it would not pull like it usually did when it was removed. These two thing being covered meant I did not have to look at the two most stressful aspects of my body until the end.
Words can not describe the pleasure I felt as I experienced the warm water flowing over my body. Never in my life have I appreciated a shower as much as I did in those initial moments. I closed my eyes and the world seemed right but it was not to last.
I was jolted to reality when I proceed to wash under my arms. The washcloth literally disappeared into the void that was my armpit. The muscle wasting was so extreme even my long fingers could not touch skin at the bottom of that hole.
If I had denial left about the reality of my condition, it was quickly disintegrating. By the time the water washed away the dressing on my abdomen, I was already reeling. I was totally unprepared for the two gaping holes that overshadowed my surgical incision.
Only one other time in my life have I seen such a distressing wound and that happened to be on one of my horses. At least the hole in my mare's chest had not been formed by disease but how I had dealt with it definitely inspired how I would deal with my own wounds. While this whole idea might have been a good plan, there was definitely an important side effect of it that had not been considered.
To be continued.....
Note: I want to remind my readers my reasoning for going into this detail is that it is the groundwork for what has followed. I believe it will be easier to understand how some things happened and where I am today and hopefully it will help someone along the way avoid some pitfalls that I stumbled into.