I massaged my first client of the day. A young pretty blonde girl who melts in my hands. She’s a regular client of mine who has a sore neck. I intuitively know the muscles that give her trouble. She falls asleep with her head cradled in my palms. It’s a cool feeling when that happen’s. She’s a pleasure to massage. No weird stuff happening on her body and its minimal work on my part. The perfect client.
The massage ends and I leave the room with a bit of pep in my step. I go into the break room to wash my hands and the girls that are back there ask me if I would have a problem massaging someone with hepatitis C. I don’t remember exactly the dangers of hepatitis, or how to catch it.
“Uhhhhh, I don’t know.”
Jen – “It’s a blood born virus.”
Sarah- “I can’t do it.” She lifts her arms up so I can see how chapped they are from eczema. She has patches of dry skin worn down to scabs. No, she definitely can’t do it.
But then I start thinking of all the other people we massaged over the course of our careers that never disclosed their contagious diseases. Hep C, the Hiv, or full-blown aids. I’m sure there are many more, but I can’t think of them right now, and would rather not. Herpes! You can catch herpes from going to the gym and using equipment that was not wiped down properly.
I’ve kept myself relatively sealed in a safe little bubble of health. I rarely get sick, and I’ve outgrown my boy crazy phase unscathed from STD’s – thank God.
I had a scare last summer when I thought I had herpes. There was a line of small pimples on my lower back that freaked me out so much I had to tell my friends about it. They insisted it was just a rash – a heat rash. I still think it was some strand of the herpes virus, but luckily that was the one and only encounter I had with that.
30 years and I’m still almost perfectly intact. Never broke a bone, never had a cavity and never needed glasses. My cuticle’s don’t even grow. I never knew what a cuticle was until I was 25. It’s as if my hypochondria has kept all the really nasty stuff away.
I would like to keep my health. To take a risk with an infected client for fifteen dollars seems a little unreasonable. ME is a franchise owned and operated by business people – not massage people. It would be the responsibility of the individual therapist to put on the brakes. However, the owners don’t care about our brakes. They care about how much money we bring in.
I said I would do it. The woman gets transferred over to me and I take out her chart to examine it. She also suffers from shingles. Shingles! Okay, now’s the time I wish I really had breaks. My co-workers assure me that no one would want to be touched if they were in the middle of a shingle outbreak. The woman is most likely healed from it, or in remission.
Okay, that sounds believable.
I massaged the hepatitis woman and was relieved to see no marks on her back. Just a grungy looking mole. A mountain of a mole actually, that I could not bring myself to touch (I tried to, but my fingers went instinctively around the carbuncle). She liked the massage so much that she asked for my card and told me she’ll request me for next time.
I go into the break room to wash my hands.
You would think that with all the bacteria people sweat out, we would have better soap, but no. We have soap purchased from the dollar store. It’s not even antibacterial. We are exposed to athletes foot, lime disease, possible bacterial meningitis, bacterial sinus infections – we massage very close to the dark hidden nethers that some people feel too tedious of a mission to clean.
I complained about the soap, so now we have other stuff………
Ampow? What the hell is ampow? I would give anything for just a small bottle of softsoap. It’s not just ampow, it’s AMPOW! Can’t forget about the exclamation mark. Without the ‘!’ the soap is just plain dull.
If you look closely you can see in bold letters: FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
Are children not allowed to wash their hands? I don’t get it.
We are always running out of paper towels to dry our hands with, so we sometimes share the same hand towel that becomes soaked thru by the end of the night. After drying my hands, I have to sanitize them with purell. At least we have that.
I have to go to a museum party tonight. The theme is ‘fancy footwear’. It should be fun. Shit it’s almost 8:30 already.