Monday, November 30, 2009

Healing the Outer and Inner Self

This weather is so bizarre, even for Southern California. Today it was at least 80 degrees (F) outside. It's nice that it's warm, but it's also annoying because the warmth is due to Santa Ana conditions and the air is extremely dry. This is exacerbating the kiddo's incredibly chapped hands. I tried putting Aveeno lotion on the backs of his hands today and he cried because it burned his skin. I thought the culprit was the dimethicone in the lotion, but later I tried to put regular lotion on his hands and that burned, too. Poor baby! His hands are just so cracked. Both times today, I wound up putting straight Vaseline on the backs of his hands; this doesn't hurt him at all, but it's kind of messy, as you might imagine. I'm wondering if baby oil gel would be a good middle ground for a while; we'll try that tomorrow. It's clear that he needs something we can put on his hands at least three times a day without causing him pain, until his skin is healed enough that we can use a regular good lotion/barrier that'll not only moisturize his hands, but also provide some protection from moisture loss. (Mime, I like your suggestion, in your comment on the previous entry, of using Chapstick on one's hands for protection, and we're going to graduate to that! Thanks!!)

I also talked with him about the way he washes his hands -- rather, about the way he doesn't dry his hands. He washes his hands kind of a lot, probably largely due to all the handwashing talk he's heard in regard to cold/flu prevention. That's a little problematic in itself, but the other thing is that he doesn't dry his hands on his towel, preferring to let them drip-/air-dry. (You can imagine how I love having water dripped all over the place, which is another issue altogether.) The problem with letting the water evaporate from his hands is that his hands wind up drier than ever. Argh. I showed him how he can gently blot -- not rub -- his hands dry with his towel, and explained that this will help his skin somewhat. Still, we have to continue with the lotion/barrier.

Oddly, not only did the kiddo's dad NOT use lotion on the kiddo's hands, he used hydrocortisone and HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. WTF?? The kiddo's knuckles are cracked and even the skin on his wrists is chapped, so the guy puts hydrogen peroxide on it?? No wonder the kiddo's skin is looking so bad.


In other news, the mother of a part-time co-worker (the husband of our custodian) passed away on Thanksgiving. She had throat cancer that had spread to other areas, and her death was not unexpected, but I believe it's not possible to prepare completely for that sort of thing. My heart goes out to him, as his mother was also a good friend of his. According to our custodian, her husband and his mother were able to talk about things he can't talk about with some other people -- intellectually stimulating stuff that's over most people's heads. It's quite a loss for him. I said a few words to him today when I saw him, and I fear I might have sounded like a douche. I started out saying the right things and listening, but then my awkwardness got the best of me and...I should've quit while I was ahead. Note to self: That inner voice that says, "Stop talking"? PAY ATTENTION TO IT. *sigh* Of course, I may be exaggerrating my faux pas; nevertheless, I feel he and I have a friendly relationship and I plan to apologize for anything I might have said that may have sounded...glib. Argh. I cringe. I hope my fears are unfounded.

Photo courtesy of my sister. Taken near the Cabrillo Monument, San Diego, CA.