Friday, 20 February 2009

Occupational Hazard

One of the things I do everyday, many times a day, in my profession is designed to prevent this:

That activity is this:

And, unfortunately, that leads to this:

...which bloody well hurts like a bloody bugger!

I get these skin cracks in my thumbs (only my thumbs) as a result of clamping and unclamping the pinch valve clamp on the blood lines that are used in dialysis.

Each set of tubing has 12 of these clamps in various sizes. Most of the clamps will be opened and closed multiple times during a dialysis treatment, from setting up the machines, running the patient for 3 - 5 hours (yeah, it varies that much) and stripping the used tubing off the machine at the end of the treatment.

The only product that I have found that works in treating these skin cracks is this:

I have tried every kind of liquid bandage and skin glue on the market. This stuff works. It is the only stuff that works.

And Johnson & Johnson, in their infinite wisdom, has elected to discontinue it. I went to buy some a couple of weeks ago and couldn't find it anywhere. There wasn't even a spot on the shelf for it anymore. No one, at any of the stores I asked at, could tell me if it was still available.

So I went online, found J&J's website contact info, and emailed them about it. They tell me it was discontinued. I told them they just made many nurses in many hospitals extremely unhappy, as this product of theirs was the only stuff that actually sealed the cracks, stopped the pain instantly, and stayed on long enough (a couple of days minimum) to allow the cracks to heal.

Granted, it is light purple in colour (WTF?) so you look like you have perpetually filthy digits when using it, but who cares! It works! Your thumbs and/or fingers don't hurt on contact with anything any more!

I used to use krazy glue for this purpose. The Liquid Bandaid is actually cousins to krazy glue, except that it dries flexible, whereas the krazy glue dries hard and tends to catch on everything.


I guess I will have to resort back to the krazy glue when this bottle of Liquid Bandaid runs out. Unless miracles happen and J&J changes their mind and brings it back.


  1. Resolve is close at hand(pardon the pun)dear lady. An old builders tip to soothe and heal split fingertips, usually made worse when handling lime, mortar, cement etc. Urinate on said hands... Something in the urine (I'm sure you will have the answer) does the trick and eases the soreness over a period of a few days.

    Just remember not to pick your nose, eat your sangwitches, or shake hands with anyone for a day or two.
    You may also find that you get a few strange looks, not to mention a seat on the bus.

  2. I get cracked finger and thumb tips, as well as knuckle and finger joints during cold and dry weather.

    Overnight, I marinate the effected areas with either Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion With Colloidal Oatmeal or Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme With Vitamin E. Works for me, but of course I don't have to do the medical scrub downs.

    Hope you find a sealant.

  3. Jimmy: It is the urea that supposedly does the trick - one of the body's waste products filtered out by the kidney (a product in short supply in the people I work with). We actually have lotion at work with urea in it but it reeks (though not of urine), so I don't use it much.

    Plus I haven't found that it works either.

    However, being on a permanent vacation would work wonders, as I would not be washing my hands as often! :-)

    And puns should always be intended, dear sir.

    xl: The Aveeno has a permanent place in my bathroom.

    It is the scrubs that do the damage and I can't very well avoid those, now can I?

    Well, and keep my job.

  4. Jimmy: sang = blood. Are 'sangwitches' some kind of Scottish sorceress I've not heard about before? Do they practice sacrifices?

  5. Only on the local glue sniffers..

    'Sangwitch' is pure dialect fae Clydebank. A sandwich in Scotland is usually referred to as a 'piece. For example: 'I'll be having a piece and sausage for mah lunch.'

    Thanks for the heads up on the urea. I've just passed some and I believe it to be nearly 4 parts alcohol left over fae last nights hedonistic debauchery..

  6. Have you tried Aquaphor? It's a pretty good healing lotion.

    How 'bout latex gloves instead of constant scrubbing?

    True story: When I was actively photographing (in the silver/paper days), my hands were most always immersed in acid baths.

    I walked into my local gas n' slurp to buy...something. The cashier handed me my change and unexpectedly exclaimed: "You have the softest hands!"

    I hadn't considered that all that acid had eaten away at my epidermis, leaving only the softest of tissue.

    Soft hands are kinda nice, come to think of it.

  7. I noticed the horses as your mast head.
    There is the answer
    Push your fingers into fresh horse manure.
    I cant guarantee it but it sure stopped me from biting my nails

  8. Jimmy: Figured it was local dialect. Just having a play on words. ;-)

    If it's that high a concentration of alcohol, it would sting on my poor split thumbs!

    Jonas: Have never seen nor heard of Aquaphor. It may not be available up here.

    Use non-latex gloves a zillion times a day. Must wash hands even after gloves.... Gloves are no substitute for handwashing.... Seriously.

    The rest of my hands are in excellent shape - really can't tell that I am a nurse, unlike a lot of my colleagues.

    Clyde: Welcome!

    Don't have a problem with nail biting, but yes, I am sure that it helped deter you tremendously!

  9. I used something on my earlobes [I'm allergic to nickel in earrings]... I'm not sure if it was the Johnson stuff.. It was the only thing that worked... I will look into it and report back.

  10. Back! I used Germolene New Skin... but I have a hunch that they may not make it anymore. And it might be a Brit thing?

  11. Scrub, scrub, scrub.
    OCD can be a right bastid.

  12. When it is healed you can use "Arztseife" for cleaning (doctor's soap?). It's soap and you can scrub, but gives back "fat" into the skin.
    In the clinics here mostly "Sterilium" is used, that is a brand name and I do not know who produces it, but it comes as foam out of the dispenser, is effective (they use it in ICUs) but not drying out the skin.

  13. When the girls cracked my nipples I used Lanolin ointment. Have you tried that? The brand I used is Lansinoh. If you try it, let me know if it worked.

  14. Scarlet: Have tried the New Skin stuff here.... no good. Need crack filler, not just to coat. Not sure if it was Germolene... will look next time I shop.

    Istvanski: Only OCD at work. Home is totally not!

    Mago: All hospital soap here says non-drying but they lie! Have to wash so often, doesn't seem to matter what you use.

    Anna: Perhaps I should try lanolin and gloves at night? Will give it a whirl and let you know. Need to try something.

    MJ: Not speaking from experience here, but I understand they hurt like the dickens! Anna knows.... she has those two babies.... just wait til they sprout teeth! Even bigger ouch, me thinks!

  15. Ah, the gnawing baby on the cracked nipples. Such fun.

    Aquaphor, as Jonas suggested, is amazingly effective.

  16. Leah: I thank the gods that be, that I have no first hand experience with babies gnawing on my nipples.

    Will have to hunt down some Aquaphor and see if it is available up here in Canukistan.

  17. origins makes some siort of cleanser that totally softens and heals...i'll get the name for you when i hit the shops this week. (had a demo at a show recently...) xooxxo

  18. sort

    yes, i am drink commenting... :D xox

  19. Iyall haf woteverrrrrrrrrr svanama is havan.

    Actually my germophobic tendencies imprison me to a regimen of handwashing and hand wringing in case I missed some of them, but I too use Aveeno, Oil Of Oldage and Olive Oil..not Popeye's girlfriend.

    I would love to waste my Krazy Glue on my cracks but it tastes to good.

  20. Savannah: Thanks, honey... will wait to hear what it is. And then will have to see if it is available in the Wilds of Winterpeg.

    Drinkin' comments welcome, gurlie! :)

    Donn: *passes Donn the unlabelled bottle*

    Drink up, hon. No idea what it is but I am sure it is potent!

    That's a little OCD there, my friend.

    I have some olive butter lotion a girlfriend brings me from Texas (brand = Palmer) which I have never seen up here but it is very rich and smooth. Still no help for the cracks though.

  21. Just minutes, eh?

  22. I would suggest you use a good dollop of man-butter, but that would be a trifle too rude.

  23. Jimmy: Would you be willing to donate?

  24. LMAO. "man-butter"... I love it!


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