This morning I opened the doors of my bathroom cabinet (not, I know, a particularly gripping start to this blog, but stay with me).  As is common with bathroom cabinets the doors double up as mirrors and I caught my forearm on one of the corners.  No great harm done but my arm was cut and needed a plaster.  The plasters happen to live on the top shelf of my bathroom cabinet (convenient, eh?) and, bleeding, not profusely but certainly enthusiastically, I reach for the cardboard boxes and proceed to read about my options.  (Who wants options when you’re bleeding to death?)

The first box contains ‘fabric stretch fingertip and knuckle’ plasters.  There are two sorts; some shaped like butterflies and the others like capital H’s.  Since I have cut my forearm it doesn’t take me long to rule these out. 

The next box, with a sticker boasting that the contents are ‘new, improved!’, has plasters designed to ‘protect and treat blisters, promote faster healing, provide cushioned protection and reduce scarring’.  I think you’ll agree that, despite this impressive list, and since my arm is cut, not blistered, these are not the plasters I need.  I put the box aside.

The third box, a sticker says ‘new’ but neglects to claim they are improved (perhaps they are too new to have had time to be improved?), contains plasters for ‘minor burns and scalds’.   Again, clearly not the plasters I need for the cut on my arm. 

By the way, just to give you an update, blood is now running down my arm and dripping into the wash hand basin.  I clearly need a plaster, preferably an appropriate plaster.

The fourth packet contains ‘blue, detectable, plasters’, 30 of them all ‘hypoallergenic, flexible, soft, and waterproof’.   Amazing!  Might these be just what I need?  ‘Detectable’ is surely a bonus?  If I got lost, my blue waterproof plaster, apparently containing ‘tiny metal fragments’, could be traced. Wherever I was, I would be detectable.  Clearly everyone, certainly explorers and mountaineers, wounded or not, should wear one of these remarkable blue plasters?  I’m tempted to apply one to my wound but somehow sporting a blue plaster on my arm strikes me as being a touch ostentatious.  Anyway, I am in the middle of Windsor and don’t need to be detected. 

Never mind, there is a fifth box…….

20 fabric plasters, not new, not improved, but ‘durable and flexible’.  At last, these must be the ones I need.  I tip them out of the box.  Oh lord, three different sizes and they are all encased in paper foils.  I examine the arrows and attempt to find a way to get to the plaster nestling snuggly inside, tantalisingly close but as yet inaccessible.  I give up, blood continuing to drip into the wash hand basin, and grab a pair of scissors.

Eventually, I apply a plaster and all is well.  I ask my wife, once a nurse who knows about these things, what happed to those strips of ordinary paster (the ones I remember from when I was a boy) where you simply cut off the piece you needed and stuck it on.  I was left in no doubt that this was silly question and that, if I couldn’t find the plaster I wanted in my bathroom cabinet, there were more in the bedside cabinet. 

More?  The last thing I need to know.          

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