Faulty human software is a big problem for PMR zombies. Particularly, the arms—what’s with the programming for those once useful extremities?
They won’t rise, some not even up to shoulder level.
The fingers move like claws–dead claws, no strength.
Right and left sides abhor each other’s territory, to judge by how much coaxing it takes to move, say, the right hand over to the left arm.
Should you try to use the arms to brace or raise your torso, they simply collapse at the elbow, ha ha on you!
As for accomplishing anything behind your back, like tying an apron or pulling up clothing, well, they simply refuse to do that kind of business anymore.
So how’s a self-respecting zombie supposed to get dressed? Or, uh, keep one’s attractive little body clean and sweet? Or look less than utterly ridiculous while out in the world?
Forget about trotting your malfeasant software into the Manufacturer’s office, or even into a medical fix-it shop. You’ll be as popular as a misfiring printer at a computer store—they don’t do printers; they just throw them out. Medics don’t do wonky arms—they just give you a stronger pill until you no longer care about the competency of your arms.
You’ll simply have to figure out for yourself how to circumvent the gaps in your software.
Problem: you can’t get up. No, seriously. With Herculean effort you roll the body onto one side and swing the legs out of bed, only to find out that there is no way to raise the torso upright. You can’t lean on the puny arms, and the very thought of being pulled upright causes shrieks of horror.
Solution: (a) get married; (b) train a large dog to help you heave yourself upright; or (c) buy an electric bed.
(When you buy an electric bed, choose a high one, or one that’s adjustable in height. It’s much easier to slip down from the bed onto the floor than to heave your bulk upright.)
Problem: (1) You can’t move your hands behind you to wipe. (2) You can’t reach to rub yourself with a towel. (3) You can’t raise your hands to your head to wash your hair. (4) You can’t get in and out of clothing that requires passage of body parts through a hole less than two feet in diameter.
How fraught with problems this touchy area is! Super Zombie to the rescue!
Solutions: (a) Get an electronic Japanese bidet—the seats are heated and there’s a menu of programs. This machine does everything you ever wanted done to your nethers, efficiently yet tenderly. You’ll never poop anywhere but home again.
(b) Turn on the underfloor heat. What? You skimped on the renovations and didn’t heat the bathroom tile? Who’s sorry now?
(c) Run the hottest shower you can stand. If you had the foresight to install tankless hot water, you can stand there until the pain goes away. If you had even more foresight and installed one of those walk-in-and-sit-down bathtubs, fill ‘er up with hot water and a pound of baking soda and just vegetate for half an hour. Guaranteed to limber you up.
(d) If you have an infrared sauna, it’s a great prelude to your shower. Added feature: infrared heat at certain temperatures is said to kill cancer cells.
(e) Towel Management 101: Choose a towel as long as you are tall. Tuck one end under your chin, letting the rest fall down the length of the body. Catch it under the breasts, or belly as the case may be, and between the legs. Pat yourself gently dry as far as your hands can reach. Wiggle your hips and knees so that the towel rubs your inner thighs dry. Now, step two: catch the towel in landscape orientation, using your hands as two clothespins, as if you were about to help someone on with a coat. Instead, gather up a little strength and flip the towel over your head. There! Now, holding the ends of the towel, you can work it down your back and backside, even your thighs on a good day. Forget about the lower legs and feet if you can’t reach them—they’ll survive.
(f) Get a haircut. Your shortest haircut ever. Bald is beautiful. Cut your hair washing to twice a week, in the evenings when maybe your arms will deign to co-operate. Hang your head over to wrap a towel ‘round and after a few moments remove towel to allow your head to air-dry.
Problem: you can’t get in or out of your clothes because your arms and legs won’t co-operate.
Solutions: (a) Only a third of PMR patients are men, but I feel for them. Men’s wardrobes are 97% pants or shorts and some kind of shirt. Putting pants on is an activity utterly incompatible with PMR. With buttoned shirts you can play the same trick as you do with towels and you’ll do the same with your jacket, sweater or coat: grab it by the neck and flip it over your head so that it rests on your shoulders. (Check upwards for obstructions like spider webs or light fixtures first!) The lower half of you is a whole ‘nother problem. Just buy a kaftan. With big armholes for the sleeves.
(b) For women, the recommended item is a Thing. What is that? you ask. The Thing is your ultimately comfortable garment which hides all corporeal iniquities. You love the fabric which, ideally, doesn’t wrinkle much (since you’ll likely be climbing back into bed for a nap shortly). The neckline and sleeves are capacious, maybe stylish. A handkerchief hem or variable hem adds interest. Black is always right, but why not choose your favorite color? Fabric interest is a plus but patterns make you resemble a sofa; so skip ‘em. Make sure the absence of underwear is not detectable to the passerby. (If you think putting on pants is a torture test for PMR patients, try putting on a bra.)
(c) Feet present their own quandary. You must keep them warm, but you can’t reach them to tie, clip, Velcro or correct the fit of a shoe. So drag your heel-less footwear to the front of the closet, especially whatever goes well with the Thing. Throw out the heeled stuff—you will fall over and then you have the bigger problem of heaving your entire bulk once again upright.
(d) Add a jacket or sweater and there! You’re dressed. Sort of. Forget the makeup: your fingers have lost the acuity and you could be taken for a drunken raccoon.
(e) For nightwear, I recommend a loose-fitting sundress several sizes too big for you. It’s easy to get into, to lift, to escape or to wash.
Swallow your pride and get a handicapped sticker. Your fellow drivers will more readily forgive you for your inability to parallel-park and for those corners that you turn with the speed of a mollusk. Better yet, don’t drive. At all. Or at least until mid-afternoon. Do the world a favor. Spare the public from wobbly raccoons in funny dresses saluting all with “Good morning!” at four in the afternoon.
Have a coffee. Even zombies deserve a reward for coping with their own bad software.