It was two months ago that I transferred from the main hospital to the rehab hospital. On the whole, this was a major step forward – nonetheless, rehab is not home: notably the shower situation. Occupational therapists are obligated to watch you doing many daily activities including showering before they certify that you can safely be discharged from their services. I understand the rules, and I’m willing to play along and accept certain indignities as a patient in a rehab facility, including mandatory toddler leashes. But that doesn’t explain why I had to take the shower test not once, not twice, but THRICE while I was at there. Since the nurses were reporting that I increasingly looked and acted more like a visitor than a patient, I thought that by itself ought to get me a passing grade on the shower test.
By the end, I got into deal making. When the third therapist asked to watch me shower, I bargained: “Perhaps you could watch me shave and put my contacts in, which are infinitely more delicate skills than staying upright in a shower?” No deal. They needed The Full Monty before I could go home.
On the whole, being a patient in a hospital (even a very nice one) is infantilizing: your clothes, food, medications, and activities are pre-arranged for you. Perhaps some people find comfort in regressing and leaving your entire life in other people’s hands, but not me. I would much rather dress in my proper work clothes, shower in decent privacy, and manage my own calendar, thank you very much.