The case of the painful hands
It was part of his employment conditions. He could have as much free fizzy drinks as he wanted for himself and his family. At the factory where he worked, massive quantities of this popular brew left the premises in huge delivery trucks. Destinations? As many outlets as possible.
The workers at this plant were encouraged to be the greatest fans and consumers of their product. Hence, the perk they were given at employment date was to take home as much to drink as you want for yourself and your family. He held his hands a distance from each other, fingers spread apart. In his working life as an artisan he had never had a problem with the skin on his hands. “Look at them. The cracks open up like ravines, sometimes oozing a sticky substance. Otherwise the skin just dries up and cracks or flakes. I have tried all sorts of creams and pills. It seems to help for a while. Somehow it is just getting worse and worse. I can’t close my hands; the cracks on my fingers are too painful. I have been off work for a few weeks as I cannot work on the machines with my tools. Do you think you can help me?” He was obviously embarrassed by the appearance of his raw, oozing, cracked fingers and palms. He was an uncomplicated man, of an average background. Does his job, pays the bond, raises his children, takes his wife to movies once in a while. Not the questioning type at all.
“How long have you been working at this cold-drink factory?”
“I have had about 10 years service which was interrupted when I tried to open my own business for about 2 years. Since I have been back, it is about 6 years that I work there.”
“When did your hands start to give you trouble?”
“About 2 years ago I started with little patches on my palms. It would come and go. Now it is there permanently.” He answered my questions easily.
“Have you always been a keen drinker of your product?”