View Full Version : Taking a Shower

08-04-2011, 04:38 PM
Hi Everyone,

How long do you need help taking a shower after you come home from the hospital? How do you wash your hair without the shampoo running down your back?


08-04-2011, 05:31 PM
I personally think this really depends on the type of person and length of fusion, and things like that. I'm naturally cold all the time, so when I took showers, I shivered uncontrollably, which REALLY hurt. It was also harder for me to lift my arms up than most. (Plus, I had really thick and long hair, so it took a lot longer, too.) So I avoided taking showers for a while. My mom helped me wash myself for probably a few weeks. But I'm sure others have different responses.

Just a suggestion, before I was back to taking showers again, we bought a little inflatable "pool" thing for washing hair. It came with a spray nozzle, and it was amazing! My mom could wash my hair while I was still lying in bed. I would recommend one of those if you end up not taking a shower for a while.

And someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think shampoo running down your back is a problem, unless there's something additional that I don't know about. Most of my scar was covered in tape, but my nurses never said anything about being careful about it. And with your back being numb, it's not like it would hurt or sting. Unless there's a specific reason why you don't want it to run down your back.

One more suggestion-- a shower stool made me feel very comfortable taking a shower on my own. Then you don't have to worry about slipping or finding it too painful to stand too long. Anyway, I hope some of this was helpful. Hope all goes well!

08-04-2011, 06:19 PM
Thanks so much for your input, Katie! Do you know where your mom bought the hair pool thingy? We have a built in bench in our shower so that should be helpful along with the handheld shower head. I think about my back being numb. How long does that last?

I was very moved when I watched your video, Katie, and cried. I was blown away at the thought of how today's technology can make such amazing changes.


08-04-2011, 06:30 PM
We got ours from Alick's Home Medical... a little pricey, I think, but very worth it.

Ummm... the majority of the numbness of my back wore off within 3-4 months or so. That's a rough estimate, but I think it was somewhere in there. There was a portion of my upper back that seemed to take a long time to get the feeling back-- probably almost a year. But I now have all the feeling back (which I was very worried that I wouldn't!).

And I'm glad you liked the video! ... at least, I'm hoping that's why you cried! : ) I made it about 9 months after my surgery, having no idea that it would have the impact and the amount of responses that it's had. I'm definitely very thankful for technology.

Oh, one more thing. I've heard of people cutting a hole in the bottom of a garbage bag and putting it over their head so that the water doesn't get their backs wet. That seemed like more than I wanted to deal with, so I never tried it.

08-04-2011, 06:38 PM
I found one http://www.amazon.com/Hair-Basin-Inflatable-Shampoo-Disabled/dp/B000JS0X64

I'm SO excited... maybe hubby can wash my hair in the hospital. That is one thing that drives me crazy, not being able to wash my hair because it gets very oily.

So when you go to the hospital on surgery day, do you take a shower before going to hospital, or do you take a shower at the hospital using special soap?


08-04-2011, 07:50 PM
Yes, that's it! My hair gets oily too, and I can't stand not washing it. So I think you would really like it.

I went to the hospital on Monday, and had surgery on Tuesday morning. So they had me take a shower before my surgery. I take them at night, so I did Monday night. I think they made me use Dial, that they provided, because it's anti-bacterial. Every hospital might do it differently.

08-04-2011, 08:33 PM
At the hospital, they heated up something that looked like a shower cap and massaged my head. It felt wonderful and my hair looked clean. I know the nurse or aide did it at least twice. My husband bought a couple at the local pharmacy. I also went to my hair dresser for a real shampoo when I got home from the hospital. I walked in with my walker and pillow and was a little out of it on my pain meds. We have laughed about it since then. I had no problem washing my own hair in the shower as soon as I could get my incision wet. I used a razor on a long handle for my legs. I just kept in mind that all of these minor inconveniences were temporary.

08-04-2011, 08:41 PM
I tried the shower cap thing once, but my hair was SO thick and long, that it didn't do a great job. But it did make me feel better knowing that my hair was cleaner. And I'm sure it works great with shorter or thinner hair. It did feel really good to get a head massage, too. ^_^ I so wish that I would've thought of the razor thing! That's so brilliant! Unfortunately, my mom had to do it for a little while. I'm pretty sure she was just as happy as I was when I became independent again!

08-04-2011, 08:48 PM
I just finished watching your video. It gave me chills and a tear or two. You are an amazing person. I wish you would start a thread just featuring your video so that others dont miss viewing it. You are an inspiration!

08-04-2011, 08:50 PM
I was given a special soap to use the morning of the surgery at home.

08-05-2011, 06:27 AM
Doreen, in case it might help, here you have my experience.

I had surgery august last year (yesterday it was my 1st anniversary!). I got fused T10 to L5 and my curve went down from 70 to 30 aprox. I'm 37.

It took me 2 weeks to shower by myself. I was 5 days in hospital, where nurses cleaned me on the bed, and after that I went to a friend's and she kept looking after me. I tried having a shower on the very first day I arrived to hers but when I started to pull down my clothes I fainted. She told me off badly (she was right) but I wanted so much not to be a problem!

So she kept washing me on the bed once a day. We had a long plastic cover (we'd ask for one at the hospital) not to wet the matress and a sponge. She did it every night after I took of my brace (surgeon made me wear a brace for support for the first 2 months, all day/night off during the first month and starting to remove it little by little from the beginning of month 2).

So, obviously I'd suggest you ask someone to be close when you take your first shower. You might also need help to dry yourself. What I did was roll my hair (without bending my back, same as they do at the hairdresser's) in one towel and my body in another, then lie on the bed and dry myself from my waist down.

That's only for another 1-2 weeks. One gets full autonomy pretty fast.

As for the soap running down the scar, there's no problem at all (in fact, right the opposite 'cos it'll clean it) as long as you dry it carefully afterwards. My friend also put some povidone on it before covering with some sterile lint.

Washing your teeth is also a bit tricky at first. I found useful using a glass to avoid having to "bend" to reach for the tap.

I can't think of more tips right now but do ask anything you might come up with. Glad to help! Best wishes.

08-05-2011, 07:51 AM
hi Doreen
just a thought....i would think sitting in the shower might depend on how low the fusion goes...
i've read on forum that some patients had trouble sitting for a while after surgery that went to the sacrum...

best of luck with everything...


08-05-2011, 10:18 AM
I am taking my first shower today after 3 weeks of being in the hospital/rehab. I want to feel clean again. While I have had sponge baths and my hair has had those shower cap baths, it is not the same. I cannot wait!!!


08-05-2011, 10:52 AM
I know this is off the thread, but Katie, that video is fantastic. It just gave me chills. I am a musician too so it really touched me. So happy for you!!!

08-05-2011, 09:07 PM
I also have special soap to use. I use the first packet all over my body the day before the surgery--I need to leave it on for two minutes before rinsing off. Then I have a second packet of the same stuff I just need to use on my back the morning of the surgery.

By the sounds of everyone, I need to get a chair to sit in my shower. I'll need to find one with small width as my shower is so small I have to step outside of it to change my mind.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

08-06-2011, 06:29 AM
LOL - that's a good one!

08-06-2011, 04:15 PM
How different our experiences are. I showered on my own as soon as the tubes were removed and washed my hair. I was given no restrictions, and my incision was uncovered. (I didn't have external stitches.) If my memory serves me correctly, this was around Day 4-5. I also get oily hair, so I was thrilled to be clean again.

I do remember a nurse coming in to shower me and found me sitting up in bed in clean pyjamas, with wet hair - she was a bit surprised!

08-06-2011, 04:26 PM
I just watched your video Katie - beautiful!

08-07-2011, 03:15 PM
Thank you for your video. I guess we don't realize all we have gone through until we see such a video with all the stages.

Congratulations on your recovery!! Wishing you a lifetime to enjoy your "new" back.