Can Lay on Hands be used to both heal hit points and remove diseases/poisons with the same action?

The Paladin’s Lay on Hands feature says:

As an action, you can touch a creature and […] restore a number of hit points to that creature.

It also goes on to say:

Alternatively, you can expend 5 hit points from your pool of healing to cure the target of one disease or neutralize one poison affecting it. You can cure multiple diseases and neutralize multiple poisons with a single use of Lay on Hands […]

Could I opt to do both at the same time? Perhaps an ally was struck by a crossbow bolt with drow poison, and I needed to both heal them as well as remove the poison in one go; is that permissible?

As written, it seems vague. The first paragraph specifies the use of an action to heal hit points, but the second simply indicates an alternative way for the hit point pool to be expended, but doesn’t seem to indicate that the use is exclusive from the first.

Does a Druid in Wild Shape need hands to grapple?

The rules for grappling say “using at least one free hand”, but there are plenty of examples of creatures that grapple without hands–Giant Toad and Octopus, Giant Constrictor Snake, etc., and many of those do it automatically on a successful hit. So what about other creature types? A bear? A giant viper? A shark? Or is this a matter of DM judgment call?

Does an artificer require two hands to cast spells with a costly material component?

An artificer must use an appropriate spellcasting focus when casting artificer spells. And they must use costly material components when applicable. Neither can replace the other.

But can they handle their focus and costly material components with the same hand? I know of spells that contain more than one material component, such as Simulacrum involving both snow and powdered rubies. I am not sure whether that applies when there is both a focus and a material component in use.

Does an artificer require two hands to cast spells with a costly material component?

Do spells like burning hands specify specific non-material components?

In "Does Burning Hands really require touching thumbs?", it has been established that burning hands does indeed require touching thumbs. A question that is danced around there is, "is the touching thumbs the somatic component?" This question also extends to spells like dissonant whispers (verbal component) and message (verbal/somatic component). In other words, when a spell specifies something in its description, outside the component list, that could be nonetheless be construed as the component, is it in fact a component, or even the component?

I’m inclined to think such descriptions are the component, but am unsure. This does have some weird implications if so, like "how loud does one dissonantly whisper?" and "can someone else hear my whispered message?" (I don’t need these answered here; I just include them because they are related, depending on the answer.)

Can a Light Domain Cleric cast Burning Hands while carrying a shield?

I have a Light Domain Cleric who gets, as part of the Light Domain, the Burning Hands spell. Can I cast this spell while carrying a shield?

I subscribe to the idea that one physically must touch one’s thumbs together and spread one’s fingers per the spell as the somatic component of the spell. Is it reasonable to think that a Cleric with a shield strapped to their arm is able to make such a gesture and not burn their own shield?

Can I use Fast Hands to draw something from a magic item?

My DM gave me a magic little bag that has the description:

Someone holding the pouch could reach into it and speak the name of any type of nonmagical seasoning—salt, pepper, saffron etc.—and produce enough of that seasoning to apply to a single meal. This power could be used up to ten times until the pouch recovered its magic at the next dawn.

I’ve read that you can’t use an object that requires an action to use/activate, but that item does not require an action (and don’t need to get activated neither) and we’ve ruled it produces enough for a single meal, but does not requires to be applied on a meal. Wich means it’s basically the same thing as taking an item from a Bag of Holding.

I wanted to be able to draw pepper as an action and a bonus action, that way I would be able throw pepper in someone’s eyes on my next turn.