I wore a dress to work this week. The weather has been soooooo hot and my skin isn’t too bad so I thought I could get away with baring my legs. ‘You look gorgeous’, were my husband’s parting words and he’s not biased. Right?
So, I am on the ward where I work. There’s no air conditioning and all the patient room doors are open. Where I am stood writing notes, it’s a rare moment of serenity; everyone is either dozing in bed or quietly getting on with jobs in hand.
On the other side of the ward, the ward round is in progress. This involves a troupe of junior doctors, nurses, dietitians and physiotherapists following the almighty consultant from bedside to bedside as he makes important and almighty decisions.
The troupe start to descend my corridor and the almighty consultant spots me from across the ward and shouts out in his rich Northern accent,
‘What’s been biting your legs?’
Everyone stops. Everyone takes a good long look at my poor, psoriasis spotted legs. A few patients, who haven’t got out of bed for days, even manage to shift a bit to get a view.
I’m the team psychologist. I should know how to handle this. Everyone is now waiting for my reaction. The truth is I feel ashamed and ugly and I wish I hadn’t listened to my husband that morning when he assured me no-one would notice my skin.
For the first time in my life I don’t respond with an apologetic explanation. I practice what I preach. I take a deep breath, I smile, I shake off feelings of shame and I say,
‘It’s psoriasis. And now you’ve loudly pointed out my imperfections, is it my turn to point out yours?’
Pause, a few giggles from the troupe and almighty consultant put firmly and politely in his place.
Go me! I was still chuckling about his mortified look and mumbled apology as I drove home later that day.
And I’m still wearing a dress to work, at least while the sun continues to shine. Bring on those questions and comments. I’m ready for you.
Read this if you want more tips for dealing with questions about your skin.