This short story was added to the SHORT STORY PROMPT LINK PARTY 2 in February 2019. Today, I am republishing the story.
Ready? Here’s the prompt: As I stood in the shower with the warm water running down…
Now, here’s my version: BATHTUB OR SHOWER? LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE!
As I stood in the shower with the warm water running down my face, all I could think of was one thing – I hate taking showers! Here we were on our 2 week family vacation and I was complaining about the resort not having a bathtub! WOW! Really! Just a shower, no tub! Give me a break!
I was the only one who found a problem with this setup. Hubby was fine with there being no tub, he preferred a shower. The kids and their spouses, even the grandbabies all enjoyed taking showers…not me though! I much preferred the luxury of sitting in a warm tub full of sudsy bubbles. It felt better to me and my aching bones, joints, and muscles.
As I got to thinking about it though, it wasn’t just now in my older years and with my health problems that I enjoyed a tub over a shower, I had always preferred a tub bath instead of standing in a shower! As I stood in the shower grumbling to myself, all at once I started laughing out loud! A vision had just popped into my head. I had suddenly recalled an elderly patient we had received on our unit at the hospital back when I was still working as a nurse.
She was much older than even I am right now, at least in her 80s if I remember correctly. She was considered a charity case. The plan was to bathe and nourish her, keep her for a few days to make sure she was ok then she would go to live in a nursing home.
The frail, little woman was in bad need of assistance. Her skin was terribly dirty, her hair was dirty and in a tangled mess, and she desperately needed dental work! Her body gave off an odor that was not pleasant. Despite all of this, she had the most unique color of green eyes I had ever seen!
First thing we needed to do was feed her. We immediately ordered food from the kitchen. She gobbled it up like she hadn’t eaten in days and asked for more! After finishing another tray of food, we told her we were going to help her with a bath. She refused!
Talking to the case worker, we were told that we had to bathe her, the nursing home wouldn’t take her in her current condition. We learned that she had been living alone with no one to help care for her. She had lived in a shack of a house without running water for years!
Our shift that day came and went. We couldn’t talk her into getting a bath or shower. Showing up for work the next day, our staff learned that she’d refused a bath from the 2 shifts following ours the day before…and that today was the day that she was to get a bath! This word was sent down from the director of nursing.
We knew we couldn’t put her in the shower, we’d all end up wet so we decided to use the walk in tub. It would be perfect and she could sit on the raised seat inside the tub as we helped her bathe herself and wash her hair.
Easier said than done! That frail, little woman had more strength than all 3 of us nurses who were young women at the time! It would make too long of a story to tell it all here so let’s just say this – by the time we 3 got finished helping her bathe, we might as well have put her in a shower as we were all soaking wet from head to toe once we decided we were finished. Our hair, uniforms, shoes, everything was wet! The floor looked like it had flooded! She kicked, splashed, flung her arms, and screamed as if we were trying to drown her!
We finally got her dried and into a clean gown and into her freshly made bed with clean sheets. We 3 nurses had to borrow scrubs from the OR and get out of our wet uniforms. Our shoes squished with water with each step we took!
As I stood in the shower at the resort laughing out loud, I realized I felt better and was no longer frustrated about the room not having a bathtub. And as it turned out, it’s like I always say – laughter is the best medicine! Oh, and let me add – this just happens to be a true story!