I have no doubt that most people with a life-term condition thinks about, worries, frets, and feels pain and discomfort with their condition most days. I try really hard not to let this be case for me, and I have, for the most part, decided to totally disregard it and go on with life as if it didn’t exist. Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that are really difficult to ignore. Like the need to be a clean (and therefore decent) human being at all times.
You would think that for someone with a condition that is, essentially, dry skin; water would be a god-send. Water is wet, right? Wrong.
Sure – having a long, relaxing bath, perhaps with some sea salt added, could be considered pleasurable. Maybe I could light some candles, put on some gentle music, scatter rose petals and…..wait, what? Sorry; that’s not me at all. I’m a bloke! I just jump in, scrub the important places that need to be scrubbed, and let water take care of the rest. However, I do generally get out of the bath feeling that the effort has been beneficial to my skin.
I hate the washing up.
Most of the time however, water means just washing my hands. Doing the washing up, washing the car, and other such mundane activities.
And it seems that every time I stick my hands in to warm water, they feel much worse, and my psoriasis screams ‘no more’. Weird, right? Still, it’s the truth.
So let’s add them up… After a bath in the morning, I wash the cat’s bowls and feed him before I go out to work. I probably drink five or six cups of tea at work which require water and detergent between drinks. And probably about four bathroom visits. Cleanliness is next to godliness, they say. You just can’t leave the lavatory without a good bit of soap and water – but I am sad to report that in my experience, many do; the dirty mochyns! (You may have to look that up – it’s my favourite word in Welsh)
Back home again, another 4 hand washes after using the bathroom, more cups of tea and plenty of other washing up – including the cat food bowls again. Then, washing properly before bed.
I very rarely clean the car, to be honest. But even so – that’s about 20 times a day, when even one or two would be too much. And I don’t really know what to do about this. Wearing gloves for certain tasks might be acceptable – but going to the bog? That would be a little odd, I think.
Things I was forced to change.
The psoriasis on my hands has made me give up playing golf – which in some ways is a benefit because I was very bad at it. And it stopped my riding my mountain bike, which is a genuine shame, because it was about the only exercise that I enjoyed. And trust me, I need the exercise. But even normal stuff is hard. Gripping anything – like a kitchen knife when preparing dinner – splits the skin on my finger joints. Even operating a door handle can do damage.
Moisturiser can help, but moisturising your hands is a funny thing, for me, anyway. If I were to rub an emollient cream in to any other area of my body, I would then wash my hands (again) afterwards. And I feel exactly the same if I apply it to my hands – and where would be the point in that?
I can't stop cleaning my hands, or even just getting them a bit wet. That would be disgusting! So there is no answer to this issue as far as I can see - other than to simply deal with it. And so I do. Not always with good grace I grant you - many times during each day I can be heard to utter an obscenity or two when I stick my hands in the sink.
In the end, I would much prefer to be clean than pain free. So I scrub until I am spotless and red raw, and enjoy the feeling.
27th August 2018