MONDAY, MAY 10, 2010 1:40 PM, CDT
Right Choice #9
My Grandma Graham, in the one rare off-color reference I can ever remember her making, talked about the importance of ‘PTA’ baths – a bathing methodology available when a full bath was not available. I’ll leave the acronym up to you to figure out, but suffice to say, it is a rather crass description of body parts that need to stay clean. I was in desperate need of a PTA bath.
Not allowed to get the incision wet combined with my pain and general ill health left me smelly and unhygienic. Jeff explained the need for a portable tub and pitcher to the housekeeping staff, and in came Nancy a washtub one size down from a toddle’s summer outside plastic pool. With the tub, I could carefully lean myself over the edge while Jeff let warm water run over my sore, tired muscles. He washed my hair. I felt brand new.
The next time I went for my hotel-hallway stroll, the front desk, bar and housekeeping staff all noted how much healthier I was looking. The bath no doubt helped, though I can’t help thinking that the fact that I had given up my oversized grey flannel boxers and sleep shirt in exchange for a flouncy (elastic waisted) skirt and swim attire cover-up white top made a difference as well. This was the first time anyone at the hotel had seen me dressed.
While Jeff was out in the lobby working, or when I convinced him that he really did need to take a short tour of the city to see Soweto, the Apartheid Museum and Nelson Mandela’s House, my housekeeper Nancy would come sit by my side. We would trade stories about our children. Mostly, though, we would sit quietly next to one another, happy for the company. That evening, Nancy surprised me by carrying in, all by herself, a little mini-refrigerator to set up in my room. This way my juice and yogurt could stay chilled, Jeff picked up some cheese for me to eat, and I could have cold bottled water. Now I didn’t have to call room service every two hours. Jeff set up my computer so that we would download a movie at night to watch the next afternoon when I was tired, bored and in pain – and before his office opened up in our evening (due to the time difference) when he would make his ‘commute’ to the lobby get some work done. My room was like a mini-home away from home.
Dr. Jessefson came to adjust my medicines to give me both more relief and less nausea. He was pleased with the way the incision looked (though surprised by its length!) and liked my bowel sounds. How nice that he liked something about me, I suppose.
With my nausea decreasing, my medicines adjusted, the comfort of Jeff by my side and the hotel staff looking for ways to bring me small pleasures I could feel myself begin to heal.