Monday, 7 November 2016

Hot water has healing properties

Today I have no big revelations, no epiphanies to share; actually I’m afraid my post may seem a little mundane and trivial compared to the drama of surgery, Saturday’s diagnosis and its aftermath.

That said, I started this blog with the ambition to find something to be grateful for each time I write (which may not always be daily by the way). I decided that no matter what the world may throw at me, if you look hard enough there is always a silver lining to those dark and stormy clouds…and today is no different.

Now, don’t judge me, but I am not a clean freak. I should confess that throughout my life there have occasionally been stretches of a few days when I have not washed, or showered, or bathed. Maybe 3 days tops? Possibly 4? Music festivals, coach journeys between grubby hostels in South America…and Africa…and Asia, post-surgery to name but a few scenarios.

Before we get into the ‘that would explain why you smell’ jokes, let me hasten to add, this is not the norm. Like most people I tend to complete my ablutions once a day. But sometimes you can’t. Sometimes it’s not possible, and generally I’m ok with that (unlike my husband who would freak out in some of the above scenarios!).

Anyway, today I am grateful for my glorious, hot, powerful shower and for the release and comfort that the feeling of hot water flowing over your skin brings. I really ummmed and ahhhed when we had our new bathroom put in, standard size or uber size shower tray? Ultimately I sacrificed floor and circulation space for a bigger shower enclosure…which whilst lovely for me has been a pain in the backside when trying to get two toddlers through bathtime rituals. ‘Idiot’ I have cursed myself periodically over those extra 35cm…but no more…NOW I am glad for my lovely, large, powerful shower. Forget the kids!

For me, the shower is not simply about getting clean (lovely though that is). It’s also about the opportunity to lock yourself away from the world for a few minutes, which as a parent is always glorious. Privacy in parenthood is a true luxury.

I also relish the sensory world that a shower can unlock; the uplifting scent of an expensive shower gel, the soft glow of candles, the heady steam and the healing, massaging feeling that comes with the relentless pressure of blisteringly hot water.

Scorpio, my birth sign, is a water sign (although I’m not sure why…surely scorpions prefer desert to water?) but I like to think the zodiac has played some part in my love of water, for there are many points in my life at which the soothing power of hot water has come to the fore.

With the aid of warm water, I have been fortunate enough to have given birth to my two babies at home in a birthing pool (aka. Mummy’s adult-size paddling pool – complete with drinks holder). Through both pregnancies, the shower and occasionally the bath or swimming pool have been amazing opportunities to the calm the aching joints that accompany the additional weight of carrying baby, placenta and excess fluid for nine months. And recently, post surgery, the ability to escape to the ward shower was almost indescribably welcome.

I was thwarted at my first attempt. Three days post-surgery, having desperately summoned the physical and mental strength to gather my meagre toiletries and shuffle to the shower, I was almost inconsolable to discover there was no hot water that day. I waited, but was told there would be none all day.

The next day I tried again. I was in luck. It was neither luxurious, nor powerful, but it was a functional beige cubicle that offered privacy and great consolation.  The abdominal surgery and hospital bed had conspired to leave me with chronic lower back pain, and the warm water eased that in the way that morphine could not. The ability to wash away the traces of adhesive left on my skin following multiples cannulas, stomas bags, blood tests and lines, to rid myself of now very greasy hair, and to scrub away memories of a tough and traumatic few days was magical. Hot water has never felt so transformative and I emerged from that first shower a different person.

Since then, with each shower I take, I recall the memory of that hospital one and savour my home version even more. As the cherry on the cake I now treat myself to my few moments of privacy and cleansing twice a day. I’m probably making up for the ones I’ve missed over the years! How truly decadent and how grateful I am that I up-sized my shower.


  1. Note to self: she likes expensive shower gel (Matthew Greenberg).

    1. Did you catch my subtle hint? Birthday coming up soon :)


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