Friday, August 19, 2016

Don't Bring Me Down

The painting "French Trappers on the Red Cedar" by Cal Peters. (Try not to freak out.)
The night before my recent surgery and the morning of, I was instructed to carefully and thoroughly wash my entire body with something called Hibiclens, a skin antiseptic. This made me nervous, appalled that the doctors were tacitly admitting they didn't have enough antiseptic stuff in the OR to use on me that would be sufficient. It creeped me out, and I took a really long shower that morning, feeling as though my very life depended on it.

Don't make me look.
I lived, and returned home to find the bottle of Hibiclens we usually have in the shower on the shelf with the shampoos and soaps. My husband, a CrossFit nut, often uses the cleanser after a workout in which he may have gotten a cut or torn some skin. The little blue bottle never bothered me before, but suddenly it caused flashbacks to my surgery day, flooding me with dread. I remembered the very aisle in the CVS where they display the Hibiclens, panicking at the realization that every time I go in there I will be reminded of that morning of my surgery, washing myself at five in the morning, trembling with fear at what lay ahead. But what could I do?

Then I read in today's paper of the decision made by the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout to remove two paintings from the public view that depict Indians (Native Americans if you prefer) sitting in canoes with fur trappers, since that's too upsetting for some people to see. The direct quote about the location of the paintings is that "their current uncontrolled access poses a risk of having a harmful effect on our students and other viewers." So they will instead hang them in private offices within the school's administrative buildings, hopefully where only insensitive clods will see them on a regular basis.

Phew, that's a relief, since we certainly wouldn't want anyone freaking out seeing Indians depicted as engaging in a pleasant activity with fur trappers when we know damn well they were all slaughtered mercilessly by the evil White Man!

So I'm thinking that when I am well enough to go back in there I will request that the CVS remove all the Hibiclens bottles from the public aisle and keep them safely behind the counter, not just for my own peace of mind but for all those who have had surgery before me and for all those who surely will after.

No comments:

Post a Comment