The water is hot enough for my toes to curl, as I slowly lower myself into the tub. The smell of eucalyptus and the staleness of Epsom salt burns through my nose. The tub is neither long nor wide enough for my body and I rotate my legs being completely immersed in the water or my arms and neck. If I can get my legs and knees tucked underneath myself just right, I can allow my head to float aimlessly under the water. The gravity slips away and my head is weightless and comfortable. This is the only space in time where my head feels like my own when it’s floating underwater.
This mid evening bath has become a routine of mine to help me sleep at night. I make myself some Chamomile tea, dunk my now foreign body into this sorry excuse for a tub, and visualize a good night's rest and a healthy brain in the morning. I have no knowledge if it’s actually helping, but I’m terrified to miss my nightly routine, just in case it is helping. I would hop on one leg and stretch over backward if someone told me it would take this pain and uneasiness away.
That’s the funny thing about waiting on time to heal, you still find yourself grasping at anything that will help you feel better, even if it’s a brief moment of relief. When in reality you know you're waiting for hours, days, weeks, and months to pass before you’ll feel like yourself again.
When I started my nightly bath time, I’d count how many more days until I could go back to work and now, a month later, I count the number of days I have missed. I know this water won’t heal my wounds. I know I have no control over what is happening to my body right now, but for a moment, in this tub, I feel like Gina again.
So I’m going to curl my legs and knees underneath my buttock as much as I can, dunk my delicate head under the water and drift off to a place that makes me feel more normal.