So now I’m crippled. Temporarily, I hope, but there’s no doubt about it, I’m almost completely useless physically. I can’t drive, I can’t lift heavy weights, I can’t put socks or shoes on for myself, I can barely get in and out of the bath.
Bath procedure goes something like this.
Run your bath. Make it nice and deep because you want the heat to reach as much of your back as possible. The hotter the better, because it eases the pain. Stand there looking at the bath and plan your next move. Do you put your bad left leg in first or your good right leg? How are you feeling today, right this second? Can your left leg be trusted to not slip out from under you as you lift your right leg off the floor and swing it as fast you dare over the edge of the bath? If not, can it take the weight of your body at an awkward twisted angle as you lift your right leg into the bath? If you choose the wrong one and have to start over will it increase the background level of pain to such a pitch that you have to wait another ten minutes or so for it to subside before another attempt?
When you’re finally standing in the bath you have some more choices to make. How are you going to sit down? Sitting down in a chair is bad enough, this time you need to get your bum a lot lower, with the added complication of water and a slippery bath surface. Great.
Very, very carefully bend your knees so you’re almost squatting. It’s increasing your pain levels again, but it’s a stage you have to go through. Grasp the edges of the bath for dear life, and rest and contemplate your next move for a moment. Breathe, if you’re able to. Mostly you’ll just be holding your breathe though.
Think through the next move really, really carefully. If you thought everything up to now has been tricky you haven’t thought through what the next stage entails. Losing control of your movement in the next stage could be catastrophic. The bath might be full of water but there’s still the bath edge you could fall onto. Plan the next bit with absolute precision, plan where every bit of your body is going to be, what’s going to be taking weight, which bits will have to move, and so on. Take the weight on your right foot, ease your left ever so gently out from under you, being careful not to dislodge your right (did I mention that you’ve lost a lot of muscle control of your left leg and it’s half numb so you don’t always know what it’s doing) and then as carefully as possible, sit down.
Now you can breathe. Until it’s time to get out again.
Hurray for bathtime!