Post Surgery Aftermath: The Shower Scene

when you realize you're not who you were

If this were a normal day, I’d get up, soap, shave, wash my hair if it were a Wednesday or a Sunday and be done in ten minutes.

But it wasn’t a normal day. It was the day I was cut down the middle. The day the doctor talked to me about how she cut my bladder like a clam shell. You don’t forget how her hands looked when she showed you the clam shell. The day that they showed you how to walk with a catheter bag.

I didn’t know if I’d even be able to walk to the shower. I couldn’t get out of bed.

Can you please just put me in a coma until I’m all healed up, and then I’ll take a shower?

I took a Percocet instead.

I don’t know if Percocet really numbs the pain as much as it makes me tired enough to go to sleep. Blocks my nerve receptors enough to let me slide off the bed. Tiny steps, and inch or two. Until the bathroom.

And then I was naked. In front of a shower pouring down. A shower that I had stepped into a million times. A shower that I never had to think about how it would work.

And now, I couldn’t lift my leg over the two inch lip into the shower. It was physically impossible.

I tried to tell my brain that I could do it. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t lift it the two inches I needed to. It was part pain and part terror, but it was certainly a breaking point.

“Jesse, I need some help.”

He turned on the water, adjusted the temperature. Helped me lift my leg over the lip. There was a bench in the shower.

But if I sat down, I didn’t know if I’d ever get back up.

I couldn’t bend. Couldn’t wash my legs. But I washed my arms.

And then I handed the soap.

Jesse washed my legs, shampooed my hair, used the hospital ice chip cup to rinse it out.

I couldn’t dry myself.

He toweled me off, patting around the incision. My catheter was almost full, so he took care of that too. If this were a movie, this would be the most un-sexy shower scene ever written. But it also might be the most beautiful.