July 14, 2009
I will wash my hands in innocence, O God, that I may go in procession round your altar. Ps. 26
I don't have to be reminded that, as the poster in the elevator claims, "...the 10 most infectious places in a hospital..." (insert picture of two hands.) I see charts on the walls of staff lounges which display compliance statistics of how often hands are washed or sanitized both before and after each patient visit. (Who's tracking these things?)
All over the hospital today, workers switched out the sanitizer dispenser from the press-here-for-gel- to hands-free-foam- based method. It's upset my routine! I make a bit of a game out of getting a "drive-by" gel blessing from the dispenser in the long hallway to Oncology/Heart Center. But now, I have to place my hands under the sensor and wait (wait!) for the foam dollop. Hey, every job has its pluses and minuses.
The best part of hand washing is the ritual aspect of cleansing my heart before and after each moment with patients. By the tenth or so visit, my hands are pretty gunked up and this reminds me to take a break. Breathe. Go for a walk. Process round the altar.
When do you wash your hands?