Monday, 11 January 2010

Excuse me sir, but I couldn't help noticing your fingers are about to fall off...

I think one of my customers has gangrene. He's an old feller, probably pushing 80, with copious facial hair and a grizzled look about him. He also has an apparently morbid love of heavy jewellery. His hands are always covered in heavy silver rings, and an assortment of chains and medallions hang about his neck. I've also always rather admired his bizarre collection of clothing - sort of 70s Afghan boho meets Steptoe and Son.

But lately I have noticed the fingers on this right hand have become hideously (and I mean hideously) swollen and distorted, dark red and going black in places. Today there was black gunge visibly seeping from around the rings that are evidently causing this dreadful inflammation. And the smell... Dear god. I really want to say something about it, but he's not the chatty type and I don't want to cause offence - however, it's clearly extremely serious and requires urgent medical attention. No attempt seems to have been made to remove the offending jewellery (though at the very least it's so tight that at least it might be preventing the infection from spreading any further up his arm!), which makes me think he's probably not seen a doctor about it. I get the impression he's the type who will avoid going to the doctor's at any cost! It could be a very high cost, though.

Perhaps I ought to overcome my terribly British-ness and attempt to gently alert him to the potential seriousness of his predicament next time he comes in.

4 comments:

Nancy-Rose said...

Oh no!

Yes, do please get over your British-ness and say something to him! I understand...I'm crippled with Canadian-ness!

Perhaps: "oh dear! My but your poor hand looks sore!"

But have a name, number, and address for a nearby walk-in clinic or something, so you can press it on him if he gives ANY indication that he's been toying with the idea of having it looked at.

Hopefully you'll see him again soon before it becomes septicaemia, and he shuffles off this mortal coil.

Jo said...

Is it the guy that looks like he´s always doped up on morpheine? Oh, but he´s not pushing 80. He must come in your shop too though. Know who I mean? Amazing wardrobe...

I thought you were thinking of quitting?

Love from Denmark xxx

Gina E. said...

Eeww...I hope you and your staff wear protective gloves?? If I was even just a customer in your shop and noticed all this, I think I'd step up and speak to him myself! I worked in aged care for 10 years and have seen many cases of people not looking after themselves, and having nobody to help them, so I know it is a tricky situation. But it is also dangerous for you and your staff (not to mention other customers) to be handling anything that he has touched. It would be an extreme solution, but if he stays in the shop for a while, perhaps you or one of the staff could call an ambulance? They may be able to take him somewhere to be treated, if not cleaned up...hmmm, as I said, tricky. I hope you post an update about him, poor old bloke.

The Charity Shop Fairy said...

Yes Ms Denmark, i am leaving - two weeks tomorrow! I feel like i'm about to step off the cliff...
No, it's not the guy you're thinking of - James, i've not seen him in here for a while actually. He used to come in and buy all the jewellery, then spend half an hour in the fitting room looking at himself in the mirror!