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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tipping Point

As some long time readers may recall, I am a bit of a germophobe.  Nothing serious, mind you.  I function quite nicely in the real world and have no problem shaking hands or getting dirty playing sports or camping.  Heck, I even respect the 10 second rule (regarding how long something that falls on the floor remains edible).

But for some reason, every visit to a hospital sends me all OCD with the hand washing.  Even visiting a sick friend in a hospital makes me want to bathe in alcohol gel.

For some reason, from the moment I walk through those electric doors, all I can think about is all the drug-resistant infectious diseases that are lurking on every solid surface of the place.   After all, hospitals are full of sick people.  Sick people shed germs and pathogens just by the very act of 'being'.   And the doctors, cleaning staff and visitors spread the nasty stuff around fairly uniformly as they pass through the facilities.

In fact, one of the things that has had me increasingly alarmed as I watch my hospital stay go from a few hours to a few days, is the contemplation of the nasty stuff to which I've been exposed (check in with shortness of breath... check out with Legionnaire's Disease).

But the bathrooms are particularly suspect in my humble opinion.

Every time I have to go near the bathroom I find myself scrubbing my hands and arms to the elbow like a surgeon getting ready to do particularly tricky operation.  So you can imagine that the idea of stripping down and actually exposing my whole body to a hospital shower was about as appealing as eating my meals out of a bedpan.

Also, I'd been resisting the possibility of taking a shower here at the hospital because at any moment I fully expected to be sent home.  I figured, why expose myself to some unspeakable chimera growing on the walls just to wash off a little, essentially benign, B.O. (I know it has to be OK because my body produced it, right?).

Anyway, yesterday I reached a tipping point of sorts.  My revulsion at the state of my personal hygiene finally surpassed my fear of the drug-resistant flesh eating bacteria growing on the shower floor.

So yes, I did feel better after having washed three days worth of accumulated crud off of my body.  But throughout the process I couldn't help but wonder if I was improving or degrading my actual health situation.

Oh, and for the record, alcohol hand gel works just fine on feet too. 

Posted by David Bogner on November 26, 2008 | Permalink


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Well-written. Your cell phone has been officially upgraded to the smallest laptop in the world. You made equally-hospital-phobic Avi laugh three times. A record for being read aloud to (except for the holy works of Dave Barry, in a class by himself).

My opinion is somewhat more clinical. You are clearing slipping over the edge into Lady Macbeth wackiness. Get out. Soon. Before it's too late.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Nov 26, 2008 9:57:25 AM

Be honest David, you are a boy, and boys do occasionally like the excuse of not washing! Grin

Posted by: Noa | Nov 26, 2008 10:49:29 AM

I step away from the computer for a few days!.....Clearly you are feeling better, David dear. That'll teach you to wander away from home for so long.

Posted by: Liz Ditz | Nov 26, 2008 12:36:06 PM

I also think hospitals are one big germ factory, but still a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. I'm sure you wore flip-flops and were very careful not to touch the skeevy walls.

But how to you control the airborne stuff?

Posted by: Baila | Nov 26, 2008 1:19:37 PM

"...as appealing as eating my meals out of a bedpan."

Why, I think we have a new Theme Restaurant Concept here: "Dirty Ernie's Hospital and Grill"!

Just don't order the hamburgers...

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 26, 2008 2:45:55 PM

great. now I have another thing to feel icky about when I go in...
Let's just pretend that the maternity ward is less germy.

Posted by: triLcat | Nov 26, 2008 3:49:33 PM

Wait a minute. This whole pleurisy thing is a ruse, isn't it? You're in the psychiatric ward. By "pleurisy" you mean "psychosis". By "expecting to be discharged any minute" you mean "in a few weeks I should be transitioned to a day program".

That's OK. We still love you. But when the medicines start working, who will keep you company when your "readers" are gone?

PS: Don't take the red pill. They're trying to poison you.

Posted by: Albert | Nov 26, 2008 4:37:29 PM

To Ellison: ever see Sweeney Todd? :-)
Yo Dave, sorry you're under the weather. A big refuah shleimah from Bergen County!

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Nov 26, 2008 4:43:59 PM

It works on feet, huh?

Ever thought of wearing flip-flops or crocs in those nasty shower stalls?

Posted by: tnspr569 | Nov 26, 2008 4:57:49 PM

Just remember that those germs help you grow hair...just not on top of your head.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 26, 2008 8:14:27 PM


Refuah Shlemah.

When I go to shul, I take along a small squeeze bottle of hand sanitizer. Simple drill: shake hands, discreetly turn, squeeze, mush around, repeat.

Posted by: Robert J. Avrech | Nov 26, 2008 8:15:06 PM

"Heck, I even respect the 10 second rule "

Dude, it's FIVE SECONDS. Five seocnds only.

Or maybe it's five seconds in the land, but ten in golus. Or maybe five during the week, but ten on shabbes when you have an extra measure of neshama.

But I'm pretty certain it's only five seconds. And only if both the dropped thing and the floor are dry.
You have been endagering yourself. Don't do that.

Posted by: The Back of the Hill | Nov 26, 2008 11:58:31 PM

Two words: shower shoes.

Also: bleach.

Posted by: b. | Nov 27, 2008 9:06:59 AM

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