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  • Jacqueline Le Sueur

Just 6 Weeks Less-Abled : S + 3 | The importance of independence

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Please meet LimbO. Goes over my cast and boot and allows me to shower ... when I have the energy. Such a simple invention but of enormous benefit.

Being clean, feeling clean. It is so wonderful. After all my time in hospital when a shower was but a distant dream I never take it for granted and I have to say, coming home with this most simple of things that makes showering so much easier lifted my spirits to much. Just having the independence of being able to shower on my own, safely, is a really powerful thing ...mentally and physically.

A shower did not even enter my consciousness yesterday, however. Yesterday all my energy went on pain control. Or rather, more accurately, engaging nicely with the raging pain in my foot rather than ranting at it. Staying positive, staying flat on my back with my foot elevated on 2 pillows and staying sane - podcasts and the wireless helped with that. I even found a Life Scientific podcast on the mechanisms of pain.

And I slept. A lot. That in-between sleep that is not really sleep but is a little more than dozing. I ate, a little bit, just enough to let me take my painkillers without getting acid burn. I allowed myself to rest.

I also managed to break my toilet seat. Yup. Quite an achievement I thought! I didn't pull it off the screw fix at the back of the seat. I actually managed to split the seat. It is only plastic, I admit. Of all the movements I practised before surgery the one I forgot was getting up off the loo. It didn't even cross my mind. It's easy, right? No. It is much harder than I have ever given attention to.

So there I was, mid-afternoon yesterday, hanging on to the grab rail on the side of the bath, trying to haul myself up whilst not putting too much pressure through my sore foot. And trying not to slip. You can imagine my surprise when all of a sudden the loo seat 'bit' me! It split and pinched the back of my thigh and was quite a bother to get off! really did make me laugh on a day when I was feeling really grim, if I'm honest.

So today's task is to buy and new loo seat and get it fitted, neither of which I can do myself at the moment. By 9am it was all sorted. Luckily I have lived in this area a long time and I know the owner of our local hardware shop very well. Exmoor Hardware in South Molton is fantastic. They have everything and I have shopped there for very many years. When I called Di this morning it was no surprise that yes, sure, they have loo seats in stock. White, wooden (I shouldn't split that, should I!!!) and at a very reasonable price, and yes, I can pay over the phone. Brilliant! And then my friend, Renea, messaged to ask if I would like a visitor and if I needed anything. She is very kindly going to pick up my new loo seat, bring it over and hopefully between the pair of providing the tools and 'guiding' from the sidelines and Ren doing the hard work I should be able to safely go to the loo by lunchtime. Proper job, as we say in these parts!

I am fiercely independent. Too much so sometimes, I've been told. However it is really important for me at the moment to do things for myself. It helps me feel positive and not helpless. More able. The Chinese say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Taking a shower at the moment makes me feel so satisfied as well as happy and clean. Making a cuppa and my breakfast affords a sense of achievement too. However I could not get a new loo seat without the help of my friends and I certainly would not have fancied trying to avoid my old loo seat 'biting' me for the next 6 weeks until I can hopefully drive again and get out myself. There is so much we take for granted. I am so lucky not to be all alone and very fortunate to be connected to my friends and the wider world through the gift of the internet.

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