19th May 2013 — Tales from the Clinic

Tales from the Clinic — 12

We patients were invited to use Aniosgel (an alcohol hand wash – there’s a bottle on every table in the dining room and at every bedside) to thoroughly clean our hands and then test how well we’d done that by sliding them under ultraviolet light – the dark patches revealing any bits we’d missed.

Madame Serieuse, a nurse administrator – she’s always hurrying about with an armful of dossiers – lectured us on the importance of hand washing.

She delivered the lecture again in the afternoon to four of us – two patients and two guests – who were playing bridge in the salon. We laid down our cards and sat, as incapable of play as Dummy, while she listed all the horrors attendant on people who didn’t wash their hands.

I couldn’t help noticing there were no bottles of Aniosgel in the salon. Nor were there any in the television room or in the foyer. Why not?

Madame Serieuse said they’d removed all bottles of the hand wash from public display. People were drinking it, she said.

But it’s a gel, I said. How can anyone drink a gel?

I glanced at my hand. I tried to imagine being so desperate for an alcoholic drink that I’d lick gel from my hand. I considered making a wisecrack about the wine in the dining room being bad, but not that bad. I glanced at Madame Serieuse and decided against it. She didn’t look as though she’d appreciate the joke.

We had a interruption to our normal regime in the middle of this last week at the Clinic for Mission Mains Propres! (Clean Hands)
The staff here are a mostly cheerful lot.
They put a lot of energy into an “animation “ in the car park.
Nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, kitchen staff, administrators and technical staff representing germs, microbes, bacteria etc danced towards two giant hands and a tub of hand wash, were duly vanquished and slunk away to the beat of “Born to be Wild” played on a ghetto blaster.
Patients in wheelchairs, with rolators, deambulateurs and crutches watched from inside the clinic. DSC01141 In the salon, we were given leaflets, crosswords and anagrams with clues and words such as “microbe”, “virus”, “infection”.