Skip to content

On taking a shower, part 2

A while ago, I wrote about my difficulties with taking a shower while keeping my PICC and chemo pump dry. It has taken quite a while, but I think that I now have a very good pair of solutions which combine to make it almost easy to take a shower.

Small boat bags. Click image for Amazon listing.

The first part of the solution was a boat bag, kindly lent to me by some friends. These have an opening at the top where one side is springy metal, and the other side is a half-inch wide piece of elastic. The two ends of the top clip together, as webbing belts do. If you remember to roll the top the right way, it makes a relatively waterproof seal. That is, the elastic side must roll down the outside of the bag, so that it is stretched against the metal strip.

That clearly presents a problem, for the bag is intended to hold the pump, which has a line to take the drug into my body. But there is a neat solution. The metal strip is ever so slightly shorter than the width of the opening, meaning that there is just enough room to slide the line down the side of the metal strip. (Here I should say that the metal strip is entirely enclosed inside the waterproof fabric of the bag, so that it never comes into direct contact with the line, and therefore doesn’t risk rubbing against it.) I keep it in that place using a small strip of micropore tape, and then use a second piece of micropore to improve the seal around the place where the line exits. Finally, I use a loop of paracord to hang the bag over my shoulder. It is very rarely that a millilitre or two of water makes its way inside the bag, and the pump’s own pouch is more than enough to protect against that small an incursion. I, at least, am very happy with this side of the solution. It’s much easier than making a sling from knotted paracord to carry a double-wrapping of ziplock bags, which was my original solution to this problem.

A cast protector for use in the shower. Click image to see more information

The second part of the solution arrived yesterday, and I used it for the first time this morning, with great success. I found an arm, or cast, protector that is intended for use in the shower. It’s a perfect product for the problem I had. I chose one that ought to be long enough, by the simple expedient of measuring from my fingertips to a point well above the dressing over the PICC line’s entrance into my arm.

The protector itself is plastic, and seems fairly durable. You insert your arm through a rubber seal with a small hole, so that it ends up tight against your biceps. (I ordered a child’s size that had the right measurement, but which might have been a mistake as the arm-hole was also child-sized. Howver, it was a simple matter to enlarge the hole’s diameter by about 5 mm.) The web-site says that it should last for about eight weeks, so I actually bought two, although I think it is only likely to be an accident that damages it, rather than wear and tear.

It now takes me only a couple of minutes to get ready for a shower, instead of five to ten. Moreover, the manufactured products do a much better job of keeping things dry that need to stay dry. If there is a downside at all, it is that my left hand is now covered by plastic, and it isn’t really very easy to use it, for example, for getting up a lather with soap, or for scrubbing those parts of my body that I can’t reach with my right hand (right shoulder, right elbow, left hip, I’m sure you can think of others…) But it’s a minor inconvenience at worst.

All in all, as I said at the top of the post, I am extremely pleased with these two solutions. Mornings are now a fair bit simpler, and lots less fraught.

UPDATE: I’ve found a different way to seal the boat bag that is better, faster, and cheaper.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Anne Chalk | 12 February 2010 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Not related to your post, but I thought this might amuse you, if you haven’t come across it before.
    http://www.simonscat.com/index.html

  2. icyjumbo | 12 February 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    OK, you got me. Subscribed. That is ridiculously funny. The man clearly has that cat! Thank you.

  3. Anne Chalk | 13 February 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Glad you enjoyed it – I’m certain Sally would, too.

{ 3 } Trackbacks

  1. A mammoth undertaking : Status report | 14 February 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    […] wrote earlier about my upgraded shower arrangements, and they are still working well. In fact, I’m getting faster in the morning. It won’t […]

  2. […] When I was working it was a standing joke that our main customer always wanted things faster, better, and cheaper. The joke, of course, is that it’s almost always impossible to improve all three dimensions at the same time. But today I think I’ve actually done it. I’ve found a better way to deal with the line coming out of the boat bag, better even than the method I used before. […]

  3. […] bag” that Chris kept around his waist at all times 24/7, (except when he took a shower, when it went into the boat bag). In the bum bag was also a plastic pouch containing an 8 days’ supply of 5-FU, which was […]