This is the kind of stuff I wish the social security and insurance folks would see. My hair is stringy and I just feel sort of, kind of, well…. gross. I’m sure you know the feeling. We’ve all had to go days without a shower before. It can be because of the flu or a sprained ankle or stitches that can’t get wet. It happens. And this is one of those times for me, but the situation is less acute.
Earlier this week I made the mistake of taking a shower. I shower most days when I can. I know it’s not good for my already-dry skin or for my terrible body temperature regulation, but I find it refreshing. The other day, though, was a mistake. I’d been home for most the previous week because I was in too much pain to go out. That day, I felt like I might finally be able to manage a trip to the grocery store, but the shower destroyed those meager hopes. Suddenly, I was in so much pain I could barely stand, never mind walk to my car and then walk around a store. And forget about actually driving. I thought I might go later, but the combination of the shower and the pain were so exhausting that I just didn’t have the energy.
Yesterday I figured I should try going to the grocery store again. This time, I skipped the shower. I thought I might shower later, but I was just too tired from shopping. Still, I had groceries* and, even better, I’d gotten out of my apartment and experienced fresh air. Finally!
Today I had to make another choice. I could feel that if I took a shower, that would be it for me, and I had a family member I really needed to visit. I debated, then skipped the shower. Tonight, I thought about showering, but had to choose between that and cooking dinner. I chose to cook dinner.
I am not complaining about the lack of showers. Talk about a first world problem! I’m so fortunate to turn the faucets and have clean water come out any time of the day and night. I once lived in a place that was prone to droughts. No one there ever showered two days in a row, so I didn’t either. That was fine. Really, I don’t mind the lack of showers too much. What I mind is the reason for the lack of showers. My choices shouldn’t be
- groceries vs. shower
- family vs. shower
- cooking vs. shower
- feel not completely horrible vs. shower
These are lousy choices. Just pitiful. These are the choices that most people don’t know we have to make regularly. They don’t see this part. They see me walk from the car to the grocery store and give me a dirty look for parking in a handicapped parking space. They don’t know what I had to give up just to get to the store, or how tiring and painful it will be for me to get home again. They don’t understand the constant decision-making, prioritizing, choosing. They don’t understand that working at a paying job is completely out of the question, because even getting to the job every day is impossible. These are the things most people don’t see.
So the next time a doctor or an insurance person asks for an example of why I can’t work, I won’t bother to tell them about pain and exhaustion. I’ll just tell them I had to choose between taking a shower and cooking dinner. Maybe that will help to clear things up.
*For those who read the last post, yes, I finally have some bananas!