worker man hands

11 09 2008

Worker man hands. Stout, sausage like fingers, one permanently crooked from getting jammed with a softball – and he never would have such a trivial thing looked at by a hand surgeon. He just rigged up a homemade finger splint and got on with life. Broad backed hands. Almost like a farmer. A firm grip. The winters took a real toll on those hands with constant exposure to sub-zero temperatures, ice, snow, tools, and gas meters – I NEVER remember seeing my dad wear gloves. According to him, he couldn’t get a grip with gloves.  Again, his famous interjection, “What are you going to do when winter gets here?”, uttered in a middle of a howling blizzard just showing the highland-border-collie-type love of the elements and tireless hard work that characterized his life.

Every year – they’d come back…deep splits on his knuckles, in the creases or on his finger tips. Those open splits were always raw and tender…no matter how much goo he’d put on them at night. They weren’t big – not always noticeable. By the time the weather would turn, he’d usually have a reprieve and slowly but surely, his hands would be good as new.  

I look down at my own hands. After 20 years of on again/ off again, unexplainable blistering, deep under the skin which then turns to insatiable itching, followed by peeling, drying and finally cracking – the genius I am, figures – I have eczema. I’ve tried tracking it over the years and I know it is not solely stress induced.  There have been times where I’m under tremendous stress and I have zero problem.  Then when it flares up, I get those same kind of splits and they hurt like the dickens. If I so much as touch certain things to the tips of my thumbs, it can be riviting pain.  Lemon juice, cutting tomatoes or hand sanitizer are not advisable when they are flare up. 

It will generally take a few weeks before they start to heal up and I can get back to using my hands as normal without having to be very careful with them.  They are still my hands.  The fingers all work, they move ok.  I don’t have a fever.  There is no pill to take.  I just have to wait it out – till they aren’t so tender.  I still have to wash dishes.  I don’t get a free pass every time they bother me.  Certain movements really make me wince in pain.  But I’ll get over it.  Very slowly – imperceptibly they get better.  And my life goes on till the next cycle.  I know what to expect – know what it feels like – know when it is starting up again.

I just wasn’t prepared for this morning.  CNN is the background white noise in our house every morning.  And the whine of the lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace in memory of those who died in the attacks of 9/11 brought a knot to my throat and instant tears spilling out of my eyes.  My personal wounds are still tender.  I just have to wait it out.  Eventually it will heal over and I’ll be able to go about my business without thinking.

Even in the throws of happy hospice hallucinations – those hands were working.  He was fixing things.  He asked us to hand him tools.  He was having trouble with a gas meter repair and needed another hand.  Glad to help.  He’d do the same for me…split fingers or not.



3 responses

11 09 2008

FAMILY TRAIT!! FAMILY TRAIT!! FAMILY TRAIT!! Warning…I repeat…Warning. Split finger tips in the wintertime are a McNIece family trait. My dad tried evrything he could think of (my favorite was “Udder Cream”), and always thought that he would someday find that elusive miracle balm that would relieve his pain. Meanwhile, I hate gloves and will only wear them in the absolute worst of circumstances. I’m talking 10 below zero with a strong wind. Same goes for hats. Crikey, I’ve been known to shovel snow in flip-flops. Should it go without saying that a split finger tip is just part of the deal? However, I do wish to go on record by stating that I truly HATE winter!!!!! And by the way, I found that it takes at least one year to stop the emotional waterfall. Thankfully, it does get easier, but the pain never really goes away…Just into remission. What a great picture of Uncle Bill, absolutely priceless.

11 09 2008
Buddy McNiece (only born son!)

Agreed – but it ain’t just the cold weather! My only fix is Clobatesol…clears it up in about 2 days…go figure! Makes it so I can’t wear my wedding ring. No pattern – just so embarassing.

14 10 2008

There is a homeopathic remedy that works FAR better than ANY goop you can slather on your hands. I suffer from these splits on the corners of the fingernails… the skin splits open, bleeds and refuses to heal for a long time.

The remedy is called PETROLEUM. I don’t know what is in it, maybe kerosene, but with homeopathy, the more dilute the remedy is, the stronger it is. At the higher dilutions, there is essentially NOTHING left of the remedy itself – just an energy imprint. THIS IS NOT HOKUM!

If you can, get the 1M dilution, or at least 100C. It’s be the most amazing 5 or 6 bucks you ever spend!

The remedies can be found at reputable health and herb stores, or ordered online. is a very reputable company to order from.

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