Friday, 27 April 2018

On Being Fastidious.

You know, I’ve never been the touchy-feely sort. I don’t do hugs and was never one for sitting on a sofa with my arm around somebody while watching a TV show. My view has always been that human bodies are private to their owners and not to be brought into mutual contact except in certain fairly specific circumstances. I realise that such a sensibility (for it’s hardly a rational point of view) tends to irritate women and is utterly weird, but there it is.

The problem with bodies, you see, is that they’re only nice and wholesome on the outside (and very often not even that.) They’re pretty disgusting on the inside, and I’m not at all comfortable with getting close to what is only the width of a few very thin layers of cutaneous tissue away.

And that’s why I never understood how some people can spend their lives physically handling other people. It’s why I could never have been a doctor, nurse or paramedic (maybe a physio, but I’m not sure.)

This was brought home to me most uncomfortably during my short stay in Ward 202 of the Royal Derby Hospital. On several occasions I saw a nurse walk across the ward carrying a bundle of something white – presumably dressings – which was heavily stained with blood and maybe hidden fragments of some other even more unsavoury matter. (No, it wasn’t actually dripping, just in case you’re wondering.) I watched with mounting incredulity as she deposited the said… stuff… in a receptacle, removed her one-use plastic apron and latex gloves, deposited them in the same receptacle, and then went calmly back to filling in some book or other. She had such an air of nonchalance that it wouldn’t have surprised me if she’d started eating a bag of crisps to celebrate s job well done. Mostly she didn’t, but she might have…

And then I would start thinking about excretions and weeping excrescences, and was glad that food was either a failing memory or a distant prospect.

On the other hand…

I saw lots of Chinese lady doctors during the most recent incarceration, and was led to wonder whether I might make an exception in their case. It’s an intriguing thought given my fascination with Chinese ladies, but I don’t suppose I’ll ever find out.

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