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When the restroom is a stress room

August 20, 2013


Lately I've been having trouble twisting around and wiping when I go to the bathroom. My husband has offered to assist me but I'm afraid he'll never look at me the same way again. Plus I am so embarrassed and frustrated by the whole situation. What can I do to help with this?

Dignity in the Bathroom

Nurse Susan replies:

Something like this can be a pride issue as much as a physical one and it's natural to be frustrated given the situation. You might feel like you are losing your independence and even your dignity a little bit, and that's understandably hard.

Physically, there are a few strategies I can suggest that might help in your situation. If reaching around is the problem, you might try simply wiping from between your legs instead so you don't have to twist around.

You may also be able to get a little leverage from having a well-placed grab bar installed in your bathroom. Grab bars are available at most hardware stores and the Americans with Disabilities Act offers guidelines on their use and installation.

I would also encourage you to talk to your doctor about your situation. He or she might be able to arrange a home visit from a physical or occupational therapist who can evaluate any modifications that might be needed in your home.

Another option is to move to France (just kidding!), where it is common practice to use a bidet, which washes your bottom with a setup similar to a toilet. If installing a real bidet is out of your reach, you can use the same idea: take a quick shower after you use the bathroom.

Beyond the physical adaptations, you may want to have a chat with your husband about how you feel. Let him know why it's hard to ask for help and what your fears are. It may seem odd and uncomfortable, but remember that your husband is showing you how much he loves you in a whole new way. That even in the most intimate and awkward moments, he's trying to help. Which is good, because it's OK to ask for a little help now and then.

— Nurse Susan, MS One to One® Nurse

Nurse Susan ; Bathroom Issues ; Independence ; ADA ; Relationships


MS One to One® Nurse, Susan

Nurse Susan
Helping since 2012
Posts: 10

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