Ah yes! The cotton glove. A hand saving tool for those of us with eczema on our hands. Let’s just say that I have a love/hate relationship with my cotton gloves.
In 2011, when my hands were extremely bad I wore these little beauties 24/7 changing them as many as 5-6 times a day depending on if my hands were oozing or not. They are fabulous for keeping dry hands moist when combined with a good moisturizing cream. I used them primarily to keep my hands comfortable as my hands get very painful when they are in full blown eczema mode. Even before my episode last year I have been wearing a pair of cotton gloves to bed for probably 12 years now. At first it was a way of “trying” to control my nocturnal scratching. I say “trying” as it kinda helps but not really as one of two things always happens; 1) I rip them off in my sleep and scratch anyways (finding them somewhere in the bed come morning), or 2)I just scratch with them on anyways creating holes in the ends of the gloves with my nails. Below are just a few of the many examples I have of #2.
I have also purchased a couple pairs of bamboo gloves but for some reason they make my hands REALLY itchy. This is interesting as I am allergic to grass and bamboo is the largest member of the grass family. Note to self, stay a way from bamboo.
Cotton gloves are surprisingly pricey. An average pair costs about $7 or more making my stash worth a fair bit. (I think I counted 26 pairs this morning so at ~$7/pair that is about $180 in gloves)
I haven’t talked much about the mental game you play with yourself as you come to a point where you have to wear gloves all the time. At first I would take them off when I was around a lot of people but my hands LOOKED awful and I just felt like people were staring at them (not sure how true that was though). Then I just started to wear them all the time. I wondered about the general public’s perception of me, things like was a germaphobe or OCD about cleanliness. I can’t lie and say that I didn’t care because I did care, very much to be honest. BUT, I had to get over that and just learn that this was what I was dealt. So, I just wore them and eventually they essentially become apart of me almost, I felt naked without them sometimes.
There were some days when people’s comments would start to annoy me, mostly people at work just trying to be funny. I got the old “Hey Michael”, if I was wearing only one glove. Crap like that seems innocent to the person saying them but after awhile it is just annoying and kinda hurtful. Other times people would ask and I would just say “Oh, I have eczema on my hands”. People were and are very sympathetic when they find out its because I have eczema on my hands but I can’t help but think what people say (or think) behind my back. I think if I saw me I would just think I didn’t want to get my hands dirty (or germy) which in our climate of contagious illnesses might actually be a decent idea.
So there you have it my acknowledgement to the cotton glove. I hate that I need you but love that you are available to help me deal with my eczema. We’ll have many more days and nights together I am sure.