(james benedict brown) on the road

White socks not permitted

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 16 June, 2006

Disastrous news this week with regard to my self inflicted injuries. They are healing rapidly and very well, but that does not mean I am out of the woods yet. My last scheduled hospital visit had been arranged for this morning at the near-by Hôpital Notre-Dame here on the Plateau. I walked down to the hospital early so as to try and deal with all the paperwork required for treatment to be given to non-Québec residents. It turns out this can be dealt with very quickly when you have a thin slice of plastic with either ‘Visa’ or ‘Mastercard’ written on it.

I was given permission to see the doctor, and proceeded to wait for a couple of hours in the subteranean ‘Omni-chirugie’ waiting room. When the doctor was able to see me, the wounds were undressed and many approving sounds were made by the doctor and nurse. The special silver-based cream that has been applied to the burn every two days since the accident has down wonders: with every change of bandages, dead skin and multi-coloured gunk has been lifted away from the rapidly healing wound by the dressings. I need not be convinced that I am lucky to have been born into this generation: the wonders of modern medicine have helped to practically heal a superficial second degree burn in less than two weeks. My skin has recovered and is now re-growing, but it remains exceptionally thin and sensitive to light.

It was the news that followed, however, that brought me to my knees. The skin has been left so sensitive, that I’ve been advised to stop the wound being exposed to any direct sunlight for the next two years. Sunscreen cream is not enough – trousers or long socks need to physically protect the portion of my leg above my ankle from the bright rays of the sun. And what’s worse, I am now strongly recommended to break the only important rule of men’s fashion. I must wear white socks.

From operating theatre to day patient wards, my screams of anguish could be heard, echoing on bare lino-floored corridors. In order to stop my sweat from seaping dye out of dark socks and into the fragile skin, I should only wear non-coloured cotton socks. If I were a tennis player, that might be ok. But I’m not, and I don’t own a single pair of white socks. The horror of wearing white socks torments my dreams, and last night I dreamt that my boss made a mocking comment about me wearing white socks with my dark office trousers.

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