Saturday, October 15, 2011 not afraid.

A lady came into the office for an interview last week.  She refused to sign in because she would have to "touch the pen" everyone else has used when they signed in.  She actually told our receptionist she should use hand sanitizer to clean the pen.  After that she refused to sit down in the lobby because she didn't want to catch germs, or spread any of her own.  Seriously.  She had to do a drug test - a pee in the cup drug test - and insisted I sanitized the toilet with a Clorox wipe before and after she used it.  When she walked out of the bathroom after washing her hands she held them up as if she was a surgeon trying not to break the sterile field.  Why do people do this?

I have come to realize that it is either one extreme or the other with people.  Either you have the person who pees all over the seat, the floor and half the wall and leaves the toilet unflushed or you have the person who will take a bladder infection over having to pee in a public restroom.  Either you have the mother who makes her kid use so much hand sanitizer that if the kid would suck their thumb they would get drunk from it, or you have the mother that let's her kid who hacks and coughs with snot coming out of their nose walk around everywhere touching everything and wiping their little boogers all over.  Where are the normal people?  Where are the people who just live and if they get a cold or their kid gets sick they deal with it like normal human beings?  I don't understand the logic behind this type of behavior?  Either side of it.

We are teaching our children to become germophobes and causing behaviors like obsessive compulsive disorder.  Then we wonder why our kids are all so messed up. My daughter has a friend  (12 years old) and for as long as I can remember this little girl has incessantly washed her hands until they were raw, red and chapped because she is so freaked out about germs.  This little girl has refused to eat in a restaurant because she saw the waiter scratch his head before taking the order.  She is obsessed with hand sanitizer.  It's very, very sad.  Her mom is also obsessed with germs.  It's just not natural.  Do you ever notice that these types of people are always sick too?

I believe in proper hygiene and hand washing, but come on.  There is a point when this becomes obsessive.  Personally, I don't like shaking people's hands.  Not because of germs but because when their hand is all sweaty it kind of grosses me out.  I, however, have no problems doing the drug tests at work which requires me to dump other people's urine from one container to another.  I also get great joy out of stabbing people with needles when I do their TB tests and flu shots.  But I digress. 

You are going to get germs.  You are going to get sick.  Yes, you can prevent certain illnesses or lessen the frequency of them by using common sense and just washing your hands normally every now and then.  But if your body never gets sick and interacts with a germ you will never build up an immunity to anything.  Think about it!

I saw a commercial for this new product out now - perfect for the germophobic generation.  It's an automatic soap dispenser for your home.  Because it will prevent you from having to touch those nasty, germy soap dispenser.  Um, your hands are dirty, you push down on the thing, get soap and wash your hands.  Then your hands are clean.  I'm not understanding the need to not touch the soap dispenser here.  You are washing your hands AFTER you touch it.  What's the problem??

My Mom recently told me about this lady she knew who was a freak about germs.  They got into some discussion about washing their hands and what if you only had a dirty bar of soap and cold water or just plain hot water to use.  This lady said that she would rather wash her hands in hot water with NO soap than use cold water and a dirty bar of soap.  It's soap, the dirt would wash off when you got it wet. 

I know a lady who is so freaked out by germs that she refuses to put her hand into a bag of chips if someone else put there hand in and grabbed some.  But she won't hesitate to hug you and she is a very close talker.  Come on people, if you are going to be a germophobe at least be a smart one. 

Did you know that your desk at work has more germs on it than a public toilet seat?  Did you know your cell phone probably has more germs than your desk at work?  Did you know that I carry my cell phone with me EVERYWHERE - even to the bathroom?  I lay it on my desk at work.  I sit it on the sink in the bathroom.  I toss it on the couch beside me when I'm flopped down doing nothing.  I sit it in the door handle of the car when I drive.  Did you know I'm so NOT freaked out about germs that I'd  totally lick my cell phone right now and not even think a thing about it?  GASP!!  And did you know I would NOT die from doing this?  True story!

This has been another rendition of Jenni's Soap Box!  Thanks for tuning in. 

I hope I don't drop half my followers because they are freaked out about germs.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jenni. I appreciate your posting on this subject as it gives me an opportunity to clear up a few things. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is also a neurobiological mental illness. PET Scans of those with OCD literally look different than PET Scans of healthy individuals. Those who suffer with OCD understand that the behavior is odd - it's just very difficult to control the behavior when you are literally paralyzed with fear (anxiety). There are many "flavors" of OCD and contamination issues and germs are only one "flavor." Some OCDers struggle with checking, symmetry, etc. The OC Foundation is helpful if you need more info. It is thought that OCD may be an inherited illness. It is not caused by growing up in a home with germaphobes. I struggle with contamination OCD and no one else in my home did. It's not that I think that touching a cell phone or a pen will kill me. I mostly worry about catching some type of disease that I will then accidentally pass on to others and then it will be my fault that they are sick! Yes, I know there is no logic to this - but that is the curse of this illness. I am now working very hard using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication to recover my health. I'm told that it will never be completely gone but that I will (and already have) substantially improve. If someone came into your office and was that open about her germ struggles (most of us hide it EXTREMELY WELL) then I suspect that she may have a very severe case of OCD and could really use some compassion and treatment (CBT). When my husband was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease last year I spent a lot of time learning about the illness so I could help him. He did the same for me and my OCD. Anyway, sorry for writing a book here, but I hope this helps explain a few things! Thanks for sharing about your IBD experiences. I find it helpful in understanding my husband's disease. Monique

Ragamuffin said...

haha... you know, i was one of those kids who washed their hands with piping hot water and didn't play with the toys in the hospital waiting room. refusing to eat at that restaurant though is insane -- my brain would never have made that acute of an association. it's weird, because i don't remember my parents being particularly concerned with cleanliness except "wash your hands after you poo" and "brush your teeth". in any case, i grew out of it and may even have my own soap box spiel on pragmatic cleanliness.

also... highly recommend the book "The Dirt on Clean" (Katherine Ashenburg). amazing history of sanitization behaviors :)

Jenni said...

Thanks for the input, Monique. I am very well aware about what type of disease OCD is. I guess the part I failed to mention in this post is that the lady came to us looking to work in a doctor's office. She would be around sick people all day long and with the issues with germs that she apparently had, it seemed a little perplexing to me as to why she would choose this type of employment. Please be comforted in knowing that I treated her with the utmost respect and professionalism. Sometimes I use my blog to rant about things that I find weird in this world. I meant no disrespect to anyone dealing with this type of disease or any other. I appreciate you reading and hope you continue to enjoy Jenni's Guts.

Jenni said...

And I prefer to refer to it as CDO...alphabetically - the way it should be! I have organizational issues. :)

Anonymous said...

Just read this. Now I am angry. I hate those automatic soap dispensers!!! And how about the lysol commercial "...but what about all the germs in the S bend of the toilet...?" Why are you reaching in to the S bend of your toilet!?! If you're that worried about germs, quit playing in the damn toilet!