Afraid I might do some lasting damage if I go at it with a toothbrush, yet worried that steering clear of it altogether would be even worse for the health of the tissue, I sought her advice. Her answer was stunningly simple: Brush the entire area and don't worry if it hurts or even bleeds a little. "Remember," she explained, "there's a difference between hurting and harming. Don't worry if it hurts a little; be assured, you won't be harming anything."
I suddenly realized that bit of advice for post-surgical care is applicable to a host of human interactions. And so easy to remember.