Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Medieval Torture

Yesterday the doctor asked me to return today to have another look at the elbow. We finished at the factory in time, so I stopped by after work. He said the swelling was going down, gave me one more antibiotic shot, and said to keep taking the oral antibiotics. If it was still warm and swollen on Friday come by again, if not, it's all over and no reason to come back.

As I was leaving, I asked him about my formerly broken hand, which is still weak and a bit painful. I asked if they had a hot whirlpool tub I could soak my hand in for a short while. He said that they don't use hot water, but instead would give me a "paraffin treatment"! It was either no extra cost or $2 extra, I'm not sure.

This was something I would imagine they used to torture people in days gone by. A heated bowl of hot wax. Dip your hands in repeatedly, and layers build up on your hands. After 5 layers, let it all cool, peel off the wax, and repeat 4 times! It was painfully hot. Several times I wondered if I wasn't actually giving myself burns. Especially the first dip, when it was my bare hand. After that, the subsequent dips in the wax were a little less painful.

I have no idea why this is used instead of water. My hand does feel a little better, but that might just be because it has cooled down from being steamed like a crab. I had the nurse photograph my hands immediately after the procedure. Can you guess which one was treated?

And the one positive side effect: there is absolutely no residual smell from the cast. Now my entire hand smells like a crayon!


The Stumbling Mom said...

I've got one of those wax machines! It's great! Does sort of pink up the skin a bit, but it feels terrific! Now can you get your elbow into it?

Tuttle said...

This wax treatment used to be used as therapy in leper colonies. We visited several such places in Thailand in the 1970s.