Infection. That's what I need to avoid, infection. What's the big deal? Well the big deal is I cannot fight off infection like you can. Chemotherapy completely knackers the immune system so protecting myself from infection is an important but necessary pastime. A few routine activities become more important. Let's start with skin. Specifically the skin on my hands and feet. My skin does not regenerate anymore like yours. The idea of my chemo is to slow the reproduction of the cancer cells in my body, a side effect it to slow the reproduction of other cells so I need to protect the skin on my hands and feet to prevent splits and chaps. I need to moisturise morning and night. The days of rough carpentry hands are, alas, no more. So now I wear gloves to work in. I also need to protect my skin from the sun. Even as Summer turns into Autumn I need to be mindful of my exposure to the sun. Hats and sun creams need to prevail.
Good old covid had done all of us chemo patients a favour. Social distancing is just the ticket. Coughs and colds could be goodnight Vienna let alone covid. Yesterday's fateful liquorice allsort (Bassett's, my favourites) reminded me of another infection protection measure. Teeth. Good oral hygiene is essential. Mouth ulcers and thrush are a real threat, sometimes to such an extent that eating becomes near impossible. I now poke out my gaps, swill my mouth, brush my teeth and use mouthwash each time I eat. Even cleaning my teeth in restaurants is something I now do. And the liquorice allsort? Well satisfying my craving last night I lost a temporary filling. The offending tooth was filled during my last chemo almost 3 years ago (lasted well). Dentists shouldn't work on their patients whilst they are undergoing chemo. They certainly can't do anything invasive. All that they can do is blast and blow debris from the site but they can't use the dreaded drill. One minor advantage. I've emailed my dentist for an appointment.
And what of the motorhome? Well, what a better way to get away for a few days. We can control our own environment and social distance simultaneously. We chug off to various destinations without the need to rely on other peoples interpretation of cleanliness. We can easily social distance, buy our fuel without much risk, book destinations online, take our food with us, eat in our own space and NEVER meet with more than 6 people. But the best bit is we have our own sanitary facilities. We shower and poo on board. No nasty shared facilities for us. This means we can get away, even during my treatment and being taken short while travelling means every layby, car park, gateway, service station, in fact anywhere you care to mention has nice clean toilet facilities.The only weak link is emptying the toilet cassette, the receptacle used to transport the poo from motorhome to disposal point. A nasty job but someone has to do it.
Let me describe this most unsavoury aspect of motorhoming. You carefully remove the cassette which is a sealed unit and quite hygienic, from a trap door at the side of the vehicle. take said cassette to the emptying point, carefully unscrew the cap, empty the contents, rinse, repeat, add chemicals and return to vehicle. Simples! Usually the emptying point is roomy, clean, regularly cleaned, well equipped with hand soap, sanitiser, running water, hoses, etc.
A real luxury is a machine you just pop your cassette into et voila tiz all done for you, like magic.
Sometimes, in France, we've come across some shockers. Even in the UK we have experienced some interesting solutions. At one place, near Wigan we encountered a discreetly concealed inverted traffic cone directing our contents into a long drop washed away using a watering can. A bit Heath Robinson but hygienic nevertheless. As a general rule the more a site costs the better the facilities. BUT NOT NECESSARILY!
On this trip we decided it would be a good call to let Tricia do this particular job, further protecting me from infection. Bad decision! The place we're staying for which we've paid top dollar $$$$ is Golden Coast Holiday Village. One of four large Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks. Here we meet 3rd world disgusting. Probably the worst, most unhygienic toilet emptying facilities we've encountered in years.
See the hose? To turn it on you need to step in or on the place where the poo goes. The hose, when we got there was lying across the shit hole. even the hand sanitiser was positioned in the most inaccessible position. All the good work protecting my feeble immune system counts for nought when I'm faced with Cholera Corner! Thankfully we return home tomorrow but for now I award the facilities here