…I feel I should explain the notice above the lock on the door.

It was an idea that came about from a friend a few weeks ago, after many close calls of me almost falling and the odd false alarm where my family thought they’d heard me calling for help but I’d been perfectly all right.

You see one night when I wasn’t particularly steady on my feet (well less steady than usual, that is) I decided, since I was in need of one, I’d have a shower. To be on the safe side I told my family I wouldn’t lock the door, ‘just in case’.

At this point I should point out the lock on the bathroom door is one of those which, if necessary, can be unlocked from the outside for such eventualities but not locking it means there’s less delay.

Anyway I went in the bathroom, got in the shower and a few minutes later heard a banging noise over the sound of the shower. I opened the shower door to find my Mum trying to open the locked bathroom door (thinking it was unlocked like I’d said it would be) because she thought I’d called for help. Dad was trying to find a coin or screwdriver to undo the lock with when I unlocked it, saying I hadn’t called and was fine. But I felt guilty for sparking such a panic, and for saying I’d leave the door unlocked but automatically locking it when I got in the bathroom.

That night I told the M.E. community on social media about this and one friend suggested putting a notice on the door saying ‘Do Not Lock’. Obviously being the only bathroom in the house we thought this might be a little non-specific and people would perhaps think they weren’t allowed to lock the door either. However the idea was in the right place and so the laminated piece of paper, white-tacked to the bathroom door was born.

The sign above the lock on the bathroom door

It reads “CLARE DO NOT LOCK WHEN SHOWERING OR DRESSING!!” It was made that specific so in times of very poor cognitive function I know I can lock the door at other times. I’m only really in danger of falling or getting into difficulty when showering or getting dressed, and I always make sure everyone in the house knows I’m in the bathroom at those times. It’s slightly odd announcing to the house that I’m going to get dressed or have a shower but right now it’s necessary; it also means they’re on alert for me calling should I find I can’t manage myself or get into difficulty.

The best bit about this notice is IT WORKS. Since putting it up there have been a number of times I’ve gone in the bathroom to get dressed or have a shower and I’ve automatically locked the door, then read the notice and unlocked it ‘just in case’. Fortunately there haven’t been any times when I’ve had to call for help because of a fall, however I do frequently call for help with drying the lower half of my legs and getting my trousers on. It’s just one of those things I can’t always manage by myself right now.

As well as explaining the point of this notice to anyone who thinks it slightly odd, I want this post to serve as a thank you to the wonderful person who suggested the idea. And if anyone else has similar problems perhaps this idea could help you too.

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