I was not raised in a sterile environment, with a mom chasing me around with an antibacterial wipe, ready to pounce on my face and hands in an effort to keep me from succumbing to a dread malady contracting by touching something “nasty”. Indeed, as a kid, it was mandatory that I scrub my face and hands before taking my seat at the table, probably more from an aesthetic viewpoint than hygienic standpoint. Yet, here I am, having survived thus far with only a isolated cold or case or two of flu on my record of pathogenic disease.
I will be the first to say that good fortune has been my co-pilot more often than not. I vividly remember walking a line in Basic Training while medics, bathed in the July, Ft. Polk, Louisana heat, used pneumatic guns to inoculate us against typhus, malaria and God only knows what else we might encounter when traveling abroad pursuing our soldierly obligations. As I gain experience in the world, ( grow older) I make it a point to be very careful about tempting fate. I keep alcohol gel in the door of my vehicles and am careful to liberally rub a glob into my hands after engaging in a variety of everyday tasks that involve touching stuff that less careful folks have handled. Gas pump handles, grocery cart handles and bathroom door handles are on my list of prime locations for an errant flu bug or rhino virus to be lurking. Bathrooms, in my mind, are wonderful incubators for any and all sorts of critters to live, all bent on adding me to the list of unfortunate souls who have died from things that are not usually fatal. The gel follows a thorough hand scrub.
The cardio rehab facility that I visit daily during the week is located in a building also occupied by several physician offices. They almost always are, there may even be a rule that a doctor’s office must be located near where folks who have suspect hearts go to strengthen these same hearts. When I walk through the lobby of this complex, I note the miserable folks who are awaiting either a merciful death or timely intervention by the doctors occupying these offices. They aren’t really interested in where the various maladies plaguing them go from here. They touch things; doors, tables, magazines, pens and in the case of children, floors, walls and each other. When I walk through, I smile and nod sympathetically, and stop just short of taking a bath in the hand sanitizer at the door. I am too damned old to tempt fate around places where sick people congregate.
Deductive reasoning has led me to the conclusion the touch pad that opens doors for those who are honestly too infirm to pull or push a heavy door open alone is the location for a huge reunion of every vicious germ inhabiting our part of the world. I don’t use them. In fact I thank the Lord that I still have the strength to open the door, usually by leaning into it with my elbow or back……remember the handles are kryptonite for healthy folks.
This morning, I watched in shock, as a member of the staff in this clinic, jabbering away on the cell phone, arms full of the armaments that staffers need, opened the door by kicking the pad with the bottom of her shoe! Score one for the callous disregard for the norms of civility and a wasted education on the peripheral of medicine. Pity the poor, miserable folks who have come seeking relief from a pathogen induced misery that must now contend with smearing their hands with the residue on the bottom of a shoe! Nice touch……
Laugh, if you will, at my “alcohol gel in the car door” fixation! Today I am vindicated…….