Thursday, 14 January 2010

Of hopes and hygiene problems

Two weeks (tomorrow morning) to go…

There are so many things I am looking forward to being able to do again, it would probably be unwise to list them. Using cutlery. Being able to dress myself normally. Cooking my own food. Eating a pomegranite. Putting my hair up…

Unexpectedly, one of the activities I am missing most is washing my hands. I’ve never been one of those “wash every time you touch a door handle” hygiene fiends – I figure you have to accept that microbes do exist and sometimes they get you, and I normally wash my hands after the loo, before cooking, and (because I was taught to as a child) before going to bed. But I have, now, not washed my hands since December the 8th. Now isn’t that a disgusting thought?

I’ve washed my hand – the left one. At least, I’ve had it under the shower once a day (as soon as I got my “Limb-O” brand limb protector, that is), and have slopped it with liquid soap and sluiced it under a tap regularly. But the poor, puffy bits of the right hand that appear like extrusions from the end of the cast have not been washed in over five weeks. They’ve been wiped, with those disinfectant “handy wipe” tissues one can buy. These are, I was assured by the hospital, adequate for a time, from a hygiene point of view. But the alcohol-based stuff with which they are impregnated, while it may be removing bacteria, is also drying out my miserable dirty hand. If I moisten my exposed knuckles and then rub hard, the dead skin cells slough off in a greyish paste - and underneath is noticeably paler. It’s gross. It’s grotesque. It’s my own body, reduced to its fundamental basics; I am made of cells, doing their thing and then dying.

Please, you gods and little fishes, just let the other cells, the ones inside, be growing and packing in lots of calcium (or whatever it is that goes on inside a healing bone fracture).

Meanwhile in the wider world, natural disasters shatter homes and communities and lives, idiots get themselves killed doing stupid things in the snow, talented people who had something to contribute to the world die, and a long-lost Chagall painting goes on exhibition in London. At least that’s one good thing happening; otherwise the world seems to be in a right royal mess at the moment.

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