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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Grab bars and slippery slopes

Thursday, January 8, 2009

˘Several years ago I noticed my sister had some grab bars installed on two walls by her bathtub. I asked if she had had some troubles I didn't know about but she assured me that she was fine. She was having some work done on the house and decided it might be a good idea to have some safety preventions put in. I thought it was probably a good idea especially when she told me how handy they were to hang wash clothes on while she was in the tub.

But as usual, I didn't do anything about having the same convenience until this winter when my son was doing some repairs for us. He put two very sturdy bars, one at the front of the tub and one to the right. I had found them to be very handy, not only to put the wet wash clothes on, but to steady myself from time to time. However I hadn't really had any big need for them until this week.

During the houseful of company during Christmas week I realized that my shampoo had all been used up. I called to our great-granddaughter to see if I could borrow her shampoo just for this one time. It is a very special brand that makes it easier to comb her thick head of hair. I never did have a thick head of hair, but I did have some slightly gray hair that needed a bath badly.

She handed it through a crack in the door and asked me not to use too much. I assumed she was worried she wouldn't have enough for her own needs later that night. I found out later, there was another reason for her caution.

I noticed how easily I got lather and enjoyed the perfumed scent of her brand as I merrily continued the procedure. It seemed that I never did really feel I got all my hair rinsed clean. It was probably just the different feel of the brand. As I sat down in the tub to continue with my bath (I save the shampoo water for this next step) I enjoyed the soft feel of the water and decided I might try this brand for myself next time.

I changed my mind when it was time to get up. The shampoo had some oily base that made the bottom of the tub very slick. I thought that I would have my first trial at testing the grab bars as I held to the one on my right as I started to get to my feet. I started, but didn't make any progress for as soon as I pulled myself up a few inches, my feet would slip out from underneath me and I landed back on my rear. The grab bars kept me from really falling all the way back as I held on to the closest one. That guided me to softer touchdowns. I didn't get hurt in my forced landings.

But I was beginning to get chilly because I had already released the warm water from the tub. The exertion from my pull-ups should have warmed me up but during the time it took me to collect myself mentally after each trial, I became slightly chilled.

I decided I just had to call for help, but Marilyn now had the TV on and Lester was several rooms away. I knew neither of them would miss me until they went to bed, so with one mammoth effort I pulled on the front bar, pulled on the side bar, and propped my feet against the front of the tub so they couldn't slip any further. That meant I had to use mainly arm strength to rise up, but somehow I found it and got to my feet.

What a beautiful view it was to be eye to eye with a wall calendar instead of looking into a soap dish!

In addition to buying some of those stick-on traction fish for the bottom of my tub, I plan to never disregard my young relative when she says not to use too much shampoo.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus