As I was lying in my bed this morning I was thinking about how challenging seemingly simple things can be for me and how easily I can find a reason not to do them. Take showering for instance. This morning I knew it was probably time for me to have a shower. It did seem rather soon after I had the last shower but I think my wife may have commented on my odour in none too positive terms. The thing is it takes a while to have a shower and I wasn’t sure if I had enough time. Checking the clock I saw that the time was okay (time, now there’s another challenge). Would I be better lying here thinking or having a shower though; thinking time is important after all. I have a bit of a headache so probably getting up is better.
I sniff in my right armpit. There is a faint smell of body odour which since my sense of smell is rather limited means that I am indeed a bit whiffy (I have learnt this by deduction from my wife’s reaction). I amble into the en-suite and turn the shower on. I turn down the temperature of the shower, I have no idea how my wife can bear such hot water (though I suspect she probably has a similar thought as mine regarding how cold my showers are). The mirror above the sink starts to steam up so I switch it on and multiple blue l.e.d. lights highlight my body. The lights are a slight irritation (why use blue white l.e.d.s in this day and age?) but by switching the lights on, I have also turned on the heat pad which keeps the condensation down. A steamed up mirror is another reason not to have a shower; life is my easier if I can see where I am putting on my psoriasis cream on.
I turn to the towel rail and nearly abandon the shower then and there. I was looking for the towel we use to stand on when we get out of the shower, but the top half of the rail is completely covered by my wife’s recently used, damp pink towel. I really don’t like drying myself with a damp towel, I hate that feeling of damp towel on damp skin. What was my wife thinking? Does she have any idea that draping a damp towel over the other towels is going to make them damp too? I hesitate to carry on but convince myself it will be okay. I rearrange my wife’s towel to a better position (in my opinion) but as an additional precaution also move my towel to the back of the door; maybe it will dry out a bit before I need to use it.
I step into the shower, the tray is not cold which is good and find the temperature is still a bit high so turn it down some more. The water gets a bit too cold then stabilises at an okay temperature; I really don’t understand why after all these years (over four decades now), heat control on showers is not more controllable and precise.
I love being under the shower. I love the feeling of water pouring over my body and through my hair particularly when I close my eyes and put my head under the jet. I think it transforms me into the here and now rather than being stuck in the past or worrying about the future. I would rather not use soap because it can dry my skin out and I have enough issues with psoriasis as it is, but I recognise soap is a good way of removing the pong so I lather up. I use soap on my facial hair but not on my head hair as rather too much food seems to get into my beard and I wonder about hygiene (I read a new antibiotic had been found in men’s beards which is good news all round).
It is only while writing this that I realise I have a ritual in drying myself too. First I rub my spread out hand through my head then facial hair to flick off any excess water. Then I wipe off excess water from my body starting at my shoulders and end up at my feet; top down is important because that is how gravity works on the water too. Then I will step out of the shower and onto the hopefully dry towel on the floor. I grab my towel next and rough dry my hair. Next I do under my arms and over my chest. Then I will wrap the towel around the top half of my body and rub the tops of my arms. I think you get the picture; I have a routine and I follow it. Being interrupted by my wife or forgetting what I have just done (because my mind has drifted off) causes me anxiety, I guess because I might be doing something again that I have already done. So I have meticulously dried myself; next comes the deodorant and then the psoriasis cream which since there are currently fifteen main patches this has a routine too. I like to comb my beard, especially when it is still soft from the shower.
Blimey, so much fuss first thing in the morning; much easier to go straight to the psoriasis cream, get dressed and do something else. There are a couple of things that do give me motivation to keep clean though: one is boils (something I’ve been prone too since being on immunosuppressants); and a rash I get on my chest which seems to be associated with not washing often enough (not sure what this is, but it is rather itchy).
Whenever I swim, I have two showers, one of which includes a cleaning agent. When was the last time I went for a swim though? I was cleaner in those days. There is a part of me that thinks this is pathetic “you enjoy the shower and it really doesn’t take more than 15 minutes at most”, but the reality for me is different; having a shower isn’t difficult in itself for me but getting to that point is.
The day has barely started and already I could do with a rest; now do I have cereal or not?