Monday, March 08, 2010

Like ping pong injuries, except even more manly

Sadly, my hands have been horribly savaged by the British winter this time.

The cold has lingered a bit longer than usual, and at many times, the winter has actually been quite dry, so the skin on my hands has nicely cracked, become rough, and developed a couple of open sores. It's rather unpleasant, actually.

I realized today that one of the things that has been exacerbating the problem is that I have been lecturing this term with chalk rather than with whiteboard markers. I forgot to make my usual request in advance to get a room with a whiteboard, and I am paying the price. Giving my lecture was literally physically painful today. (I warned by students at the beginning of lecture that my writing would be worse than usual, which is unfortunate given that my writing is messy anyway, and I indicated the reason why; upon hearing that, one of them actually sneered. That's pretty insensitive, Dude!)

Lifting the boards, which are very stiff and require some effort, was unpleasant, and it turns out that chalk dust and open sores really don't mix.

It's now gotten to the point that I can barely lifting my cutlery to eat, carry my plate to the table to start eating, etc. (And it hurts a lot to do all of these things.) Ugh. I have one more lecture tomorrow, and then maybe I can start recovering.

Update: After I pressed the button to publish the post, blogger gave me an advertisement for whiteboard markers. Now that's service! :)

Update 2 (3/11/10): I just noticed (because the website was still up) that after the update, I received an advertisement for Vaseline for chapped skin. I guess I can sometimes rely on responses to my blog entry not just from my readers but also from automatic advertisement. I'm amused. :)


Anonymous said...

As a native who suffers from chapped hands each winter, what you probably need is E45 cream. Boots should sell it. Or I guess you could use any other kind of moisturising cream. But I know E45 works well on chapped skin, although it does sting a bit.

Mason said...

I'll take a look, or I might go ahead and buy something when I get home. I leave very soon for warmer climes, and I am hoping that will help. I'm also planning to be a bit more judicious about what soap to buy, because I really don't want to ever go through this again. It's just getting worse every day now.

I am also wondering if the "harder" water in this country versus the U.S. is contributing to this. Somehow, a combination of factors has made it much worse this year than in prior years.

Thanks for the suggestion, by the way! If it helps, I am all for it...

Anonymous said...

I *strongly* second the E45 recommendation. You should find that it clears up the problem in no time. Then you can switch to a "normal" hand cream as a preventative measure.

Mason said...

It just occurred to me that it would be pretty awesome for this particular post if the two Anonymous postings were one person pretending to be two different people. :) Obviously, I don't actually think that's true.

I'll see if I can get my butt over to Boots tomorrow, though maybe the small pharmacy on Walton has this.

Jon said...

By warmer climes, do you mean NC? Looking forward to seeing you when you do get out here.

Mason said...

Meaning that I fly to LA on Friday and will be bouncing around the US for 5 weeks---significant portions of those 5 weeks will be in warmer climes. My hands could definitely use some immediate recovery. My first stretch of time in NC should start towards the end of mid August. I'll let you know once I have more details (and have, e.g., purchased plane tickets), but for now it looks like I'll be in NC about 3 weeks in that first trip, another 3-4 weeks in November, another roughly 2 weeks in January, and then maybe 3 weeks in March-April 2011. My sabbatical is now officially approved by all parties and I'm getting a good amount of funding from SAMSI, so all of the hurdles have now been cleared.

Lemming said...

Yeah, I've noticed a bit of dryness from the chalkboard, too. After every time I lecture on a chalkboard, I always wash my hands -- using a moisturizer at that point might not be a bad idea as well. It's probably best to do something right then, though.

Also, colder weather will tend to aggravate that sort of thing. Some people find it helps to have a humidifier in their home.

Really, the skin is drying out, and becoming damaged as a result (dry skin = less flexible, easier to crack and tear).

I'd never heard of E45 before, but glancing around online it seems popular -- maybe a European thing though? (Some comments to the affect of "where can I find it in the US?")

Mason said...

I do wash my hands after every time I use the chalkboard, but that definitely hasn't been enough this time around. I am seriously regretting not getting my shit together for that request this time around.

I'm not used to using moisturizers, and some of them smell bad (to me) and leave a sort of filmy residue that I really don't like, but right now I have bigger fish to fry.

Indeed, that is the physics of what's been happening.

I hadn't heard of E45 either, but then for various other things (colds, etc.), I've had friends mention various things that are apparently extremely well-known here that I hadn't heard of before.

The best bet in the US will be to find the equivalent of it. I assume there is much less of a market for it in SoCal, but presumably it should still be easy to find.

Lemming said...

Reading online, the best way to get it in the LA area is apparently... have a visiting friend from the UK bring you some. ><

It takes a bit of looking, but there are some without nasty smells. Also, sometimes the icky "residue" is intentional. In the case of E45, as I read, it apparently includes paraffin, which is intended to leave a protective layer on the surface of your skin.

Mason said...

Lemming: Do you want me to buy one for you? I detect a subtle hint here. ;) I think I will have a brief bit of time tomorrow afternoon to go hunting for this.

Jeremy said...

Hi Mason,

I'd recommend getting liquid skin as a first aid response. My mom gets those shorts of cuts frequently and that is what she uses.

Mason said...

At the moment, I am trying the E45 method. That appears to be the popular thing for Europeans to do.