American Hygiene & The Miami J Collar

I really began to question the personal hygiene of Americans, when I was fitted for my Miami J neck brace. Before I was done wearing it for one day, I was constantly aggravated by the raw skin under my chin from the interaction of the pad and the stubble of my beard. Because of the sensitivity of my skin, I always shaved with one of my wife’s pink razors depleting her supply of fresh new blades while being more or less intimidated by buying my own supply unless on vacation where no one knew me. After all what real man wants to be caught buying pink razor blades by someone he knows.

The brace wasn’t on an hour before I knew it was disgusting. In the next 24 hours, I shaved twice, was stuffing washcloths in front to adsorb the sweat and experiment with everything else from paper towels to tissues. I think I even begged a girlfriend for a pad because women face the same extremes of moisture and shaving stubble hopefully without as much irritation as the Miami J neck brace.

The issue of personal hygiene has always been important to Virgin Islanders. A shower can use 10 to 30 gallons of water depending on how careful you are and then there is the issue of when to shower. Do you do it at night and make your spouse happy or in the morning and make the world happy or how about twice a day. When you have kids who love long showers, the amount of water you use will make it inconvenient when your cistern runs dry and expensive when you buy a new truckload of water.

For me, the morning shower was imperative and additional ones taken as needed based on the amount of sweat and physical activity during the day. Especially now, since the kids are gone from the house and my wife and I never ran out of water.

I had been fitted with the brace with severe warnings i.e. wear it 24 hours a day seven days a week and never take it off or your head may snap and you’ll be paralyzed for life. If you have to clean it, get a friend to do it while you lay flat on your back with your head between two pillows for the two hours it takes to wash and dry the pads. Find a close enough friend that will do this for you and not be interested in recreational sex while you are lying in bed bored to tears because if you have sex, your head might fall off and you will die.

The very next day I went back to the doctors office only to find that the office didn’t know any thing about their being a supply of sanitary pads for the Miami J, so they would get me the Therapist who explained that I should shove a nasty washcloth down my throat and not worry about the appearance. When I complained, he promised to have his distributor contact me which he did. The salesman said he had never heard of such a thing but would check on the availability and I just told him to get me a $100 worth on my credit car and mail them to me. I never herd from him again and I started to worry about the personal hygiene of Americans who could wallow in filth like pigs and not complain.

I then called the manufacture of the device who told me they could not sell me any replacements because I was not a Distributor but they would find me one in the DC area as that was my next trip to America. I have to admit, they recognized that if Americans could be convinced on the need for personal hygiene while convalescing, they would make a lot more money by selling additional replacement pads. The distributor did return my call but had none in stock but would check their records to see if any of the local practitioners had any. None did and that was the end of the trail.

I didn’t bother looking for someone to wash my dirty pads so they could be reused as I considered that an unreasonable test of friendship. In the end when they were disgusting, I washed them myself and since I couldn’t stand the uncomfortable brace just left it off for the 2 hours it took me to do it in my washing machine and dryer. I might have even engaged in recreational sex during the free time without the brace. I also took it off when I went for an hour swim each day and since the thing is so disgusting, I even learned to take it off in the middle of the night when sound asleep. The last one cost when I would sleep in the wrong position and wake up in fairly strong pain.

I also begin to understand why no one complained. Just like a pig would prefer to run free and not to wallow in shit, when confined to a small dirt pen, a pig will learn to eat off the soiled ground and roll around and excitedly wallow in filth while awaiting feeding time. In the end, I learned to accept the sweaty filth and smell of the Miami J without complaining too much or even barely noticing it.

My only fear is that they put this same nasty piece of garbage on my throat after successful surgery and I die from one of those new hospital super bugs that also love to dwell in the sweaty filth of the pads of my Miami J Collar.

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