overcoming the embarrassment of intimate care...

Hello all, first time poster here. Please help with advice. I have PPMS, full time wheelchair user and cathed. Last year I went to Leonard Cheshire for respite, they are brilliant. I found the first time a health care assistant had to clean my posterior region I cried in humiliation. I must say this was not because of the HCA, they were very sensitive. This emotion stemmed from me! The loss of a most basic independence and relying on a stranger was overwhelming at the time. (My husband normally does it ).My husband deserves and needs respite but I am scared to feel that personally driven humiliation again and thus resistant to go to respite. I adore my husband and I need to overcome this.Can anyone help me with how I can overcome this feeling of humiliation? thank you in advance

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how upsetting for you.

i’m totally opposed to having my husband do anything like that for me.

he would be willing but i’m not.

when i was pregnant i got so relaxed about every doctor and nurse wanting to look up my bits that a smear is a piece of cake.

especially after a breech birth when a cast of thousands were in the delivery room because a visiting doctor was the country’s leading expert on breech births.

so what i’m trying to say is that trust the health care professionals.

bite the bullet and book your next respite break.

posts like yours have prepared me for the next ms horror.

the second time won’t be as embarassing.

carole x


You get used to anything. That is something quite personal and your hubby does deserve a break. I have a carer for showering and getting dressed afterwards and it was amazing how quickly I got used to the fact that several strangers see me in the nude. So it is easier if you see the HCA a few times, but as catwoman says, bite the bullet.

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I’d like to share what could have been the most embarrassing experience of my life.

I had a colostomy in June ‘17. What I’d not been warned about was that after the operation, any leftover poo in the ‘stump’ of the rectum is still there and basically, needs to come out.

So I went in a small shower room at the end of the ward about 2 days after the operation to have a wash. Whilst in there, I felt like I had a build up of wind and leaned forward in my wheelchair. What I thought had been a release of wind, I soon discovered was a complete explosion of the leftover poo. It was everywhere, all over me, the wheelchair, the floor, just everywhere.

I had to ring the emergency bell and get help. The loveliest HCA came in and basically had to clean up the wheelchair, the floor, everywhere. Meanwhile I moved to sit on the toilet whilst lovely HCA was on her hands and knees dealing with what later became known as the ‘sh*t storm’! Amazingly, we were chatting and joking while all this was going on. And btw, this was during a very hot spell, so it was not a terribly lovely environment.

Later, a nurse came in and tried her best to clean me up. One of the problems was of course that I couldn’t go through the ward to the shower room which had a shower that was accessible (because the wheelchair was contaminated). So any cleaning up had to be done in situ, by a nurse I’d never met before. Again, she was sweet, kind and just got on with the job.

Before the last few years, I’ve been really quite a private person, I wouldn’t talk about what went on in the bathroom. It could even be said that I was a bit ‘prissy’. Since becoming more seriously disabled, I have had to learn to be more open. To have people perform really intimate services for me. And I have to say, life is easier when you’ve relaxed about such things.

The day following the sh*t storm, the lovely HCA came in to work. I apologised for what she’d had to do for me the day before, she just said, ‘oh that’s ok, we had a laugh didn’t we?’ And it’s true, we did.

If you can manage to get your head round the fact of having intimate actions done by a nice nurse or HCA, and in the process, give your lovely husband a respite break, then do it. It won’t be easy at first, you may feel bereft because of the loss of independence. But ultimately you will get over the humiliation of being in this position.


(Btw, the local Wheelchair Services were amazing, they delivered a new wheelchair to me in the hospital by the following morning!)

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I read your post earlier but I didn’t know what to say.

I didn’t have to; Sue tells it better than anything I could have written.

When MS arrives we all feel the loss of our dignity. I’ve had all my orifices thoroughly explored and live to tell the tale (I’ll spare you this time). It’s how we live our lives, in between these invasions of privacy, that counts.



I think it’s only natural that you will feel a sense of embarrassment at having to rely on a stranger to carry out intimate tasks but what you have to remember is that these things go with the job for anyone in this type of employment. I am also a full time wheelchair user so I need a carer to help dress me, help me in the shower and also clean me after using the toilet. As I also use a conveen, a new sheath has to be fitted daily. As the carer is quite often female, I have learnt not to be embarrassed about this, although it’s always in the back of the mind.


  • I can fully feel for you .I recently went in for a ligament to be researched
  • to my pelvis,it was done in the g y n ward.as I couldn’t get any bowel trouble they had to keep given me medication.result explosions !!!.I was traumatized.I thought that the
  • nurses would be laughing at me or getting upset with me.oh!I was so so wrong they were angels without wings they made me feel so relaxed with it all.and what came as the biggest surprise was UNbe known to me I had actually been their first m s patient.so it can end well
  • As they said it was something they had now learnt fist hand .hope this helps you and let’s you know that you are not on your own.I

Thank you all for sharing, you are helping me immensely. Please continue

x bethany

  • Hi there it’s me Rosie again.I was left wondering could I or would be embarrassed
  • If needs be let my daughter,she is a nurse practitioner so she says if I need any help with personal things then so be it .I said “it’s alright saying that but remember I’m your mum”
  • She did do dressings and helped me to toilet after my operating it I made her shut the door for the toilet part.l o l.she. you think k hard about it we all have the same parts