Do you suffer while showering as a fibromyalgia patient? Share to show your support!
One of the curses of having Fibromyalgia is something called “allodynia”.
Allodynia (Ancient Greek άλλος állos “other” and οδύνη odúnē “pain”) refers to central pain sensitisation (increased response of neurons) following normally non-painful, often repetitive, stimulation. Allodynia can lead to the triggering of a pain response from stimuli which do not normally provoke pain.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I used to be a bather, rather than having showers because it had become too exhausting to stand in the shower even if I used a tub chair, I hated having the water hit me. It was painful and to try and explain to people that having a shower hurt me was also painful. Seriously, how can a shower “hurt”? Well, the same way an electrical shock can hurt.
For most people, it’s nothing, a tiny nuisance. For me, it’s an actual pain that shoots out of my finger like a firecracker has hit me. My husband Ray couldn’t understand this for a long time, but once he received some type of electrical shock, I said to him “that’s what static electricity feels like to me” and he finally got it.
Back to the shower though. The water hitting me felt like a million shocks on my body, but bathing was also impossible. It had become far too difficult to get out of the tub in a bathing position even with grab bars, so showers became the norm when they happened.
I have extreme difficulty lifting my arms above my head so washing my hair is a task. I’ve finally taken to doing it in the bathroom sink. Even though I still have to bend, I can stop and stretch a bit without water hitting me. And while in the shower, I use a long-handled scrub brush for legs and feet and I prefer it when hubby has to come and scrub my back for me, I can barely reach it with the brush and I never shower when I’m alone at home.
As for shaving my legs, let’s just say that the sasquatch look is quite popular here and I wear a lot of long dresses. Thank God hubby doesn’t care. He cares about my health and how to best help me, and that’s all that matters.
Read more: Personality Change Because of Fibromyalgia
I have to be honest though, I really miss having a luxurious bath.
What I would give to be able to enjoy the showering or bathing experience of the past. The soaps and lotions and bath bombs and poufs. Now, I just desperately want to get in, get clean and get out so I can collapse naked on the bed to let my heartbeat slow down and to let my shaky limbs start feeling strong. I lay there hoping my temperature will start to regulate itself and then go from overheated to the perfect temperature, to throwing the blanket over chilled me in the space of 30 seconds.
I wish that I could enjoy the simple pleasure of a shower or bath, but the best I can do is to try not to put it off for too long like 5 days or 7 or 10. And I also need to start buying a stock of dry shampoo and baby wipes.