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Dear Sarah

It is a bit of a problem if your hands are cold. When I'm working at my surgery I have a bad habit of rushing out and washing my hands. The hot water is slow in coming and when it comes it's boiling hot. It takes me so long to fiddle around and get it right that I keep washing my hands in cold water. Then I have to rush back again to warm them up before I touch the patient.

You have to be aware of those things and you have to be sure that you deal with that person with respect when you touch them. You explain what you're doing and why you're doing it...and you just do the things that you need to do (and are sensible to do) and then stop.

It's always a problem if people feel that you're doing something to them that they don't like and they don't understand why and they think that you might be doing it for no good reason.

But if people understand what the reason is or what you're thinking about then it's easier for them to cope with it.

Of course you try to do it in a way that's not uncomfortable and it's not painful. Or, if it has to be painful, then if they know exactly what to expect then it's easier.

If I'm putting anaesthetic into a kid before I sew up a cut I'll say, 'This will really, really sting for about as long as it takes you to count up to twenty.'

Sometimes we count together and it's usually gone before we get to twenty.

Yours sincerely 

Virginia R. Claire

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