Friday, October 7, 2016

Falling Friday - The Dreaded Bathtub


Today, on day 6 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge,  I want to talk about something truly scary for some of us.

I am in my early 60's, and have fallen several times.  Last year, I took a falls prevention class.  But nothing prepared me for....
How can I be afraid of this?

... the motel bathtub.

I didn't always fear the bathtubs in motels.  But one day, and I don't remember just when it was, I started to have troubles getting out of motel bathtubs.  At first, I blamed the "newfangled bathtubs" that motels (those still with bath tubs, that is, because some newer ones seem to be only featuring showers) were installing.  Some didn't even have ledges to boost yourself out of the tub with.

But now I have to face facts.  I've crossed some kind of invisible line - the one between "middle aged" and "young senior".

I've had to travel several times in the past six weeks. Twice, I had to stay in motels.

I like to take baths.  It relaxes me and relaxes my back.

On my last trip, I had a nice soak in a motel bathtub.  But when it was time to get out, I couldn't.

As in "I couldn't get out".

 I rolled from my back to my knees, something that usually enables me to get in to a position where I can boost myself out.  But this time, the position didn't work.  The tub was slippery (it didn't have a rough surface, like many bathtubs do).  Some motels provide bathmats.  This one didn't.  I had thought nothing of it when I had drawn the bath.  But now I was afraid of slipping, and I was trapped in the bathtub.

Here, I also need to explain that  I know someone who died from a bathtub fall last year.  She fell and hit her head.  It was a terrible, lingering death.  So I was thinking of that, and knew I had to be careful.

I grabbed the towel I had placed on the floor, and put it on the tub floor.  It wasn't enough.

I called for my husband. He got more towels, and I was able to get myself out.  There was a grab bar, but it was not positioned in any way that would have done me any good.

What if I had been alone?  Perhaps a business woman, traveling on business.  It's a scary thought.

And I'm only 63.

I spoke to the desk clerk.  She said that others had complained.  They had no bathmats, but could bring me something for the next night to help.

But they never did.

Ironically, that same motel was asking me to hang up my towels so that the housekeeping staff would not have to wash them so they could help save the environment.  Well, they all ended up in the bathtub, soaking wet, and I wasn't about to hang them up.  I told the desk clerk about that, too.  I asked her to tell the owners these tubs were a problem, and I told her that someone I knew died last year from a bathtub fall.

It turns out I'm not the only one with this problem.

At one time, I had a Friday "Falling Friday" feature on my blog.  I will continue to feature it sporadically.

22 comments:

  1. My sister-in-law slipped and broke her arm getting out of a shower/bath and my mum actually got stuck in a motel bath that was very narrow and slippery. She was alone and was very worried that she'd be in there forever. She finally got out after a lot of pain and fright and much relief.

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    1. Iam sorry to hear your stories. I suspect this is an issue that won't go away until public opinion is turned to that issue - but how to do that is the question.

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  2. That is so frustrating! I am glad you spoke up but unfortunately it sometimes takes an accident before changes are made. Stay safe!

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  3. I haven't found that problem with bathtubs (but have noted that some of the places I visit have VERY tall walls on their tubs). But, I no longer pop out of the pool after my lap swims. I now get on my knees on the first ledge, clamber onto the tiles floor with my knees, and then rise erect. I fear slipping on that wet tile...

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    1. Aging certainly is not an easy thing.

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  4. That is scary! I've heard about a few neighbours who have had a fall and it hurt them real bad. Hope the motel takes care of the people's needs.

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  5. Just last week,, my friend had this same experience! She was in a narrow tub and simply couldn't maneuver. Terrible experience.

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    1. I had a feeling I would not be the only one with issues. How can we make the hospitality industry know of these things?

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  6. Yes, if one is not careful one can get seriously injured from a fall. I haven't fallen out or in a bath tub, but yes have fallen asleep several times!

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    1. Falling asleep is a lot better than falling!

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  7. Omg, I encourage using a rubber tub mat, and traveling with one as well. This is so scary and dangerous, I'm in my mid 30s and find it uncomfortable to get in a tub without a rubber mat.

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    1. I'm going to start traveling with a rubber tub mat. I've finally learned my lesson.

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  8. I used to have trouble when the bottom of the tub was slippery. I'm surprised more hotels don't put non-skid strips down so wet people could get some traction when they try to get out, or even move around if they're taking a shower. I used to put one of the million or so hand towels they put in the room in the tub and use it to stand on. If the maid didn't like it, tough. Her boss created the problem...

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    1. I'm surprised, too, John. More and more surprised, saddened, and also angered. All rolled into one, especially after the death I mentioned above (which was in that person's home bathtub).

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  9. That is terrifying. But it's also sad that you brought it to the attention of management and it doesn't seem as though they're motivated to do anything about it.

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  10. Alana, I'm so sorry for your negative bathtub experiences! Soaking should be a rejuvenating interlude, reducing stress, not creating stress. Love the ideas of either taking a hand towel in with you or bringing your own trusty nonskid bathmat. I actually recommend therapeutic soaks with Epsom Salts for most of my holistic healing clients.

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  11. I've given up baths in motel bathtubs. Now, I just take showers, even though I much prefer a hot bath, and just for the reasons you have outlined - fear of falling or of not being able to get out of the tub. Earlier this year, I fell in my own bathtub at home. Fortunately, I wasn't seriously injured, but it could have been worse. Bathtubs can be very dangerous places, especially for those of us who are perhaps less than spry!

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  12. I haven't taken a tub bath in years. I prefer showers, though soaking in a hot tub can be relaxing. I just feel cleaner, safer, and get out faster with a shower. There, too, are risks; when I'm suffering a particularly bad attack of vertigo (usually when a storm's moving in or when I tilt my head back and slightly to the right) I can lose balance - especially with my eyes closed.

    I wouldn't say I've hit "young seniorhood" just yet, but I've had a tiny taste of it, after breast cancer surgery and while recovering from a broken ankle. My balance and strength are not as easily regained as they were thirty years ago, for sure. It's an added incentive to exercise and work on flexibility and strength training. My grandmother was stuck, naked, in a tub, once - overnight. It took two friends of hers - who had, fortunately, checked on her - to get her out. She lived alone, in another state, and that thought is just terrifying if you dwell on it for a minute or two. It could have turned out very badly, rather than merely humiliating.

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  13. This is so scary and you were so right to complain. I have never yet been in this situation but thought hospitality companies are very sensitive to such issues.

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  14. You'd think a motel would have an accessible bathtub. But yeah, that would be a big issue. They should at least have some sort of grab bar. Have you thought about writing to the motel chain? Perhaps if you took the complaint up the ladder it might get more traction.

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