Painting the bathroom ceiling – by Helen May


helen-may-1114-150x150Most of my bathroom is covered in dust sheets. The floor is covered, the toilet is covered, the towel rail is covered, the shower screen is covered and the wash basin is covered. However, the bath is free of dust sheets.

My bathroom is big enough for all the essentials but not overly large. This means that for the messy job of painting the ceiling, I can squeeze a set of ladders inside the door and just about fit them between the washbasin and toilet. However, I cannot get a ladder over the bath.

The only way to paint the ceiling directly over the bath is to stand on the edge of the bath. I can lean from the top step of the ladder at the side of the bath with the roller for some of it, but to paint the edges, I need to be up close and personal. Actually, when I say “up close”, I mean balanced precariously on the edge of the bath on tip toes at full stretch so the paint brush just makes contact with the ceiling. That is as close as I can get. It works but I know anyone conscious of health and safety would be concerned. Which is why I don’t cover the bath in dust sheets and I don’t wear socks – bare feet on bare bath is more grippy.

I don’t like painting ceilings. Although the bathroom ceiling is small, it is more fiddly than most ceilings so the benefit of the lack of size is easily overridden by the bath top balancing and cutting in around multiple lights. However, I know it has to be done. I could ask someone else to do it but, although he is taller than me, my boyfriend cannot stretch as far and his balance is not as good. I could pay for someone to do it but that seems overkill for a small room.

And I am independent. I can do this myself! Even if I don’t enjoy it.

As I was stretching into the corner (an area that I always struggle with), I realised how much my position had in common with managing diabetes.

  • I may mistakes: painting the ceiling, I occasionally stray onto the tiles; managing my diabetes, I occasionally stray into a hypo or hyper.
  • Mistakes can be corrected if I am alert to them: I can wipe the paint off the tiles and correct my BG.
  • I’d rather not be doing either, but if I don’t the consequences are messy.
  • Neither are easy but I find ways around problems and get on with it.
  • It’s all about balance: balancing on the bath, balancing the consequences of not doing it, balancing my diabetes management with my daily life.
  • Both are never ending: my diabetes is with me for life and I will be painting bathroom ceilings for many years to come.
  • Exercise can help both – because I am flexible, I can reach the ceiling and exercise reduces the chances of complications with diabetes.
  • Exercise can make both harder: I have been doing some new abdominal exercises recently and every time I stretch to reach the ceiling, my stomach muscles complain; my insulin requirements fluctuate more when I’m doing prolonged exercise over multiple days.
  • Although they are difficult and I don’t like doing them, I CAN paint my bathroom ceiling and I CAN manage my diabetes.

When, I step down off the edge of the bath onto the stability of the bathroom floor, my face splattered with paint, I celebrate the completion of the bathroom ceiling for another year with a finger prick and BG check before grabbing a well earned cup of tea.

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