I have always been very reserved about my body or personal space. It probably stems from being sexually abused by our neighbor. I was never a hugger, was very modest (after the abuse stopped), and especially after I was married, I had an unspoken guideline to never be alone with a man or let him touch me, even a friendly pat on the shoulder. This made visits to my doctor for my pregnancies a little difficult, but whatever.
Then I had the stroke.
The first morning Robert called our friends, the Stallings, and they rushed over. I was in my not-so-modest pajamas. Then the paramedics came in and saw me the same way. I don't much remember the hospital but somebody changed me.
In the ICU, I was catheterized, and had sponge baths. When I got to Neuro Acute, I still had the catheter but had to use the bed pan for the other. The sponge baths continued and when I finally got a real shower, I couldn't even move so two CNA's did the whole thing. Every nook and cranny.
In Rehab it only got worse. Some days Robert and my mom showered me but most days, it was CNA's. They even had to shave my legs. They took out the catheter but my bladder muscles were not working so a few times a day I got the straight catheter. And it wasn't always a female doing it. I had a bed side commode and in a room with two other women there wasn't a lot of privacy. Eventually I got a private room but even then, I had to have help transferring to the commode and cleaning up after.
Every morning my occupational therapist, Rachel, would come in to my room and help me get dressed, and eventually re-learn to shower myself. She probably saw me naked more than she sees her partner.
When I got to my moms, it was a little better but still not ideal. My OT, Cindy, helped me in and out of the tub and my mom saw me in all states of being.
My outpatient PT was Tim. He often had assistants but often it was just the two of us. We went all over outside and with all the equipment, and falling, there was just no modesty. We once talked about that and I told him that to me, he wasn't a real person, and only existed when I was there. A bit like a school teacher. He laughed and said that, strangely, that made sense.
This all became so normal to me. It could have been really horrible for me. And now that I see it in writing, it does seem very strange. But the people helping me not only acted like it was no big deal and just their job, but also treated me with respect and did everything they could to make it less uncomfortable for me. I wonder if they even realize how much they made a difference.
A while ago I was filming a show with Picabo Street. A guy was putting a microphone on me and was attempting to do it while touching me as little as possible, Picabo just laughed and said, "Oh, don't worry about touching her, she's been through therapy!"