Members of the online migraine community often post things that inspire me to write. Recently, a woman posted that she’d almost passed out in the shower. She’s not alone. Many migraineurs have trouble showering safely during migraine attacks. For those of us with chronic migraine, that can be every day. This can be really discouraging. Migraine takes enough away from us, and here it is again, making showering feel like a luxury.
This has been a problem for me for many years now. There are several issues that can be problematic. Those that are most problematic for me are:
- bright bathroom lighting,
- feeling dizzy or off-balance, and
- allodynia that makes it hurt to touch some areas of the body or even to brush my hair.
My husband would do anything to help me, but it’s a real blow to the independence to have to ask someone to stay in the bathroom while I shower. Plus, there have been times when his response was to tell me, “If you’re not feeling steady, maybe you should skip the shower today.” What? Ewwwww. No way.
- Asked my husband to install a dimmer switch for the overhead lighting.
- Put a couple of fragrance-free candles on the counter for times when the overhead lighting is just too much. These candles are in glass jars to reduce fire risk.
- Asked my husband to install a hand-held adjustable shower head like the one in the photo above. It can be put in its mount and used as a regular shower head, or taken out of the mount and held in my hand. The water flow is also adjustable. It can be a soft, gentle flow of water, or it can be a shower massage.
- Put an adjustable height shower stool in the tub. The legs on the stool are adjustable, so it can be low and close to the bottom or the tub, or higher, making it a bit easier to sit down when balance is an issue. It takes up little space, so it can be taken out of the tub and stuck in the linen closet, or it can just be left in the back of the rub.
- Place a small cabinet next to the bath tub. The top of it is big enough to hold a few things I might need or want. During a migraine, I often fill a large travel mug with hot tea. Then, when I’m done bathing and washing my hair, I can sit on the stool, enjoy the hot water streaming over me, and drink my tea. The top of the cabinet is also a good place to put my cell phone. If I start feeling really unwell and need help, I can use my cell phone to call my husband’s cell phone.
These simple changes to my bathroom have made it a bit of a haven. It’s functional and comfortable, AND it’s safer than it was. The changes have given me back the ability to shower independently, without having to ask my husband to stay in the bathroom or just outside the door. Regaining that independence is a victory over migraine disease, and every victory leaves me better able to face the other challenges of living with migraine.
Do you have other suggestions for making our bathrooms more comfortable and safer? If so, please leave a comment below, and share them with us!** More Helpful Information:**
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.