From the very beginning of this dialysis dance, one is taught that cleanliness is next to healthiness. You quickly learn the difference between "clean" and "sterile." (You can achieve the first; try never to mess up the second.)
The one teaching that stays with you throughout the entire process, however, is what is known as "The DaVita Hand Wash." I assume this means that DaVita invented this particular style of hand sanitizing. Otherwise, why would they put their name on it? DaVita is way too respectable an organization to claim something they didn't originate. (Can you see some emergency room doctor in Newark seeing this and shouting, "Hey, this is the way I wash my hands! Where's my lawyer's number?")
The DVHW is a multi-stage process which I will now proceed to demonstrate electronically through photographs. (Although this might be considered a rather antiseptic way to present it! Get it?)
As it was taught to me by my incomparable nurse, Diane King, first one must wet the hands thoroughly with warm water.
Apply antibacterial soap to the palms and rub vigorously.
Don't forget the bacteria-filthy backs of your hands.
Or that virgin semicircle between the thumbs and forefingers.
Between your fingers, too.
Now, concentrate on scrubbing each of your 10 cuticles individually.
Then once around the wrists, the palms and backs of your hands again, and rinse thoroughly.
Use a paper towel – not cloth, too many germs – to remove the excess moisture from your paws.
The tricky part, after all that energetic scrubbing and sanitizing with the DVHW, is not to touch anything on your way from the sink back to the dialysis equipment. If possible, use a faucet you can turn off with your forearm rather than your fingers (see photo above), and hit the light switch with your elbow. It's a skill you can develop. Really.
I am firmly convinced that if every restaurant worker in America adopted the DVHW, we could eat at any fast-food joint in the country – maybe even White Castle – without fear.