Monday, November 26, 2007

Splits in my hands

It has gotten so dry here that my skin is splitting at the folds in my fingers. I hate that. My entire hands hurt; backs, fronts, fingers, the works. I had forgotten about this.

Every winter in Toronto it was like this, fabrics I couldn't touch because all the small bits of dry skin would hitch.


Splits in my fingers that never heal. Skin that feels several sizes too small. Blech.

I have taken to applying olive oil straight. It may help.

The most surprising cure for this, which I am not sure I would recommend, I discovered in the very early spring of 2003, the year we left Toronto on the boat.

One of the necessary though unpleasant tasks on a sailboat of a certain age which you plan to take out of the reach of handy-dandy mechanics, is to clean out your diesel tank. You see slimy sludgy crud can build up there, indeed there are greeblies that live there and their poop is also slimy and sludgy which does very nasty things to the rather delicate tolerances of a diesel engine, making it NOT GO. The only use for the d*mn things is to go, so I was cleaning out my tank.

One might think that there is a sophisticated system for this, but not for me. It was a chilly spring day, I was down to pants and a short sleeved shirt and short sleeved sweater. I took the face plate off the top of the tank, conveniently (I kid you not) located in the center of the floor in the cabin down below. This meant that I could lie flat out on the floor suspending my upper body over the void above the tank, and reach my arm in at all sorts of bizarre angles to wipe out all the crud.

For working on boat engines this is a paragon of comfort, virtue and intelligent design as I was not actually standing on my head.

First though I had to pump out the tank with a leaky hand pump designed for oil changes. This was very messy, and I smelled quite strongly of diesel by the end. The man made lunch. And fed me.

Once the tank was reasonably empty, and the fuel responsibly disposed of, I went to the highly technical system of wiping out the tank with paper towels I stole from the public bathroom in the marine yard. I had brought rubber gloves on the endearing premise that it might save me from some sort of health hazard incurred by bathing in straight diesel fuel for six to eight hours. However, these rapidly fell apart under the onslaught of chemicals.

This left my bare hands with splits in them the of a depth you could measure in centimeters. I was waiting for the day the bones would show through. They hurt. A lot. All the time. I hate dry skin.

I did not think that a prolonged bathing in diesel was the advised medical technique for open wounds, but that was the task at hand. The man's arms were rather to masculine and muscular and didn't fit in the access panel, and the kid's arms were too short. That left me.

Well, so far I haven't come down with any bizarre diesel induced diseases, but boy, the splits in my hands were gone in a day or two!

That was fantastic.

I am not sure I want to repeat the experiment though. Maybe I should just sit around with my hands in a vat of olive oil for a day. That ought to do the trick.


Anonymous said...

GREAT GUNS WOMAN you are incredible and amazing.
I can just picture you at it all. Why don't you and the man invent a little robot to do the job for all the thousands of boat owners all over the world?
Want to bet you're the only one who does that kind of thing and then writes about it so wittily and convincingly and with a personal twist to it?
My sympathies - may the oil cure work fast and effectively.GM

Beth said...

Well, I'm certainly not trying your diesel cure but I too suffer from incredibly dry hands. (Hate it when someone wants to shake my hand in the winter months.) This year I've been using Vitamin E cream and it actually works! I'll give olive oil a try too.

Trish said...

I have the softest hands all summer and then winter comes and it's all cracks and flakes and they age 30 years in one season. gah!

Soaking in olive oil sounds like a good idea

Beth said...

while you're sticking your handsin all that olive oil, add a little rosemary and marjoram...then dip in some of that good bread you get in town. hey, you may as well enjoy it while you're soaking, right?

Theresa said...

Another, not so recomendable cure, is peeing on them. Supposedly, this is a great way of getting rid of dry skin. Somehow I don't feel too inclined to try it, but it might be better than the diesel method. ;)

traveller one said...

Oh MY!!!! I do love Beth's idea about the oil and the added spices! MMMMM.... i guess you can just eat the tapas with your hands!

oreneta said...

GM: You've got to do what you've got to do...and it was well worth it.

Beth: Vitamine E cream hmmm, I can probably get that, I have in the past opened up the capsules and smeared the goo inside around as well...I get desperate.

Trish: I never ever ever have soft hands, even my kids complain, but in the winter...oh my goodness, it is like a little slice of hell. It's bettah in the Bahamas....

Beth: Now there is a brilliant scheme...and I'll be so nicely scented as well!

Theresa: I think I'll stick with the diesel thankyouverymuch :-)...pee? EEEYyyeeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwww...

Kim: That's the solution right there, I now have the perfect excuse to eat tapas all day, it is medicinal, I have to do it for my hands!!

You guys are the best!

dawn said...

I use Avon's Planet spa Paraffin hand and foot treatment. You are suppose to put it on and wash it off, but I just leave it on. It doesn't feel oily and it works great. Today the mail lady came and she mentioned her hands, and whoa were they bad. I had her try it, and she came back and asked me to order her some. I have had the cracks in my fingers also. Crazy glue works great. It takes away the pain (after the initial sting) almost immediately. It keeps the skin sealed so it doesn't dry more.

On the unconventional side, after gutting chickens and turkeys, my hands are very soft from the oils in the fat. Better than the diesel method, but more disgusting than just using olive oil.