#11 Runaway shower hoses, wet feet and other OT mishaps…

Imagine this… a small hospital bathroom, a patient showering, an OT supervising, much talking and general laughter is heard coming from the steam filled room, the patient’s focus wanders, control of the shower head is lost, the OT is hit with a full blast of warm water from head to toe, the patient and OT shriek with laughter, the shower head skitters along the floor of shower further spraying the OT (and if very unlucky the patients clean clothing is also saturated), the OT is soaked, the patient is relaxed and happy with their showering achievements, patient returns to bed space to continue their day, the OT squelches down the corridor in wet shoes, wet socks and wet scrubs with a smile on her face… Its 9.10am.



Over the years I have amassed a veritable treasure trove of anecdotes / funny stories and not-so-funny stories that I use as teaching tools for students / new staff (while protecting patient privacy).

Further pearls of wisdom I have learnt over the years:

  • Chocolate chip cookies should not be put in toasters, it does not soften them! (In my defence I didn’t actually know what would happen when the person put the biscuit in the toaster, it seemed kind of plausible that it would soften it so was easier to eat… BUT… What happens is smoke, lots and lots of smoke, smoke issues from the toaster, smoke alarms go off, the house fills with gross burnt chocolate smelling smoke, windows get opened, neighbours look over fences, patient and OT agree that perhaps it wasn’t the best idea after all, OT is red faced and wondering how on earth she was going to write this debacle up in the clinical notes without looking like a dork…. SO! Lesson learnt: Chocolate chip biscuits do not go in the toaster!
  • There is a difference between top and bottom dentures…. enough said!
  • You need to always remove the wheelchair seat belt before trying to transfer someone out of a wheelchair…
  • Knocking the red button on the front of the hoist causes it to stop… its not broken or flat, just release the emergency button to get it working again (had a wee panic the first time that happened to me with a patient in the air!)
  • Powered wheelchairs will not work if they are set to manual mode…. (sigh)

These are but a few of the cautionary tales I use when training or comforting other OT’s… Hopefully I am not abnormal and others have similar stories….. Right?!?!

6 thoughts on “#11 Runaway shower hoses, wet feet and other OT mishaps…”

  1. OT mishaps!

    Was trialling a new toileting chair with a young boy with pretty complex needs. In the bathroom and tried to fit the new chair over the existing wc, so pushing it back with my head over the aperture. Whoosh! The wc was a closomat (self cleaning drying toilet) and I’d triggered the button sending a pressured stream of water straight into my face!
    Needless to say the young boy I was working with found this hilarious. He developed a new sign for “toilet-face” and still uses it to ask for me to this day!

    1. WOW that is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing! I dont quite feel so bad now about the incident with the biscuit toaster debacle!!!
      Thanks 🙂

  2. My first OT role (Circa 1978) was in a Rehabilitation centre for people with complex disabilities in Oxford.
    I was carrying out a toilet assessment with a lady, and after she was seated on the loo, I retired around the corner at a discrete distance. Unexpectedly, in the quiet, I farted! This made the service user burst out laughing. My little voice said, “Oh I’m awfully sorry, it must be because I’m in the vicinity of a toilet!” All these years later, I blush at the thought.

  3. Well I have a couple of Physio bloopers that could be ‘learning from others mistakes’ for OT’s as well.
    Many years ago as I was taking a frail lady for a walk, as we got a few metres from the bed I noticed a long thin tube pulled taut between her and the bed, ‘back up, back up!’ I said in my calmest tense voice – as I had left her catheter bag attatched to the bed. I confessed to the nurse, and thank goodness it didn’t leak and I hadn’t pulled it out.
    I was never going to make that mistake again!
    And since then I do a quick glance behind to make sure all wires and tubes were coming with us whenever I walked a patient.
    Until a few months ago, I must have lost that reflex glance for a moment.
    And heading across a 4 bed room in visiting hours – there it was again. – ‘Back up, back up!’
    But this time although no damage was done thank goodness, I felt small and embarrassed as visitors made obviously loud comments to each other about how slack that was and how little care staff took of their patients.

  4. And though I haven’t made the ‘are you pregnant?’ blooper for many years, I have learnt to say ‘Are you family?’ instead of ‘are you his wife?’ – and get the response ‘no I’m his daughter’.
    Although one of the reasons I enjoy working with OT’s is that you are often more socially attuned than I am, so perhaps I am just showing myself up with this confession.

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