Friday, September 10, 2010

It's A Dangerous World

Do you ever have one of those days when you feel like everyone is trying to kill you on the road? You’re minding your own business on your way to work when the jackass in front of you realizes he’s about to miss his turn and slams on his brakes, causing you to narrowly avoid ending up in his trunk. Then just when you think you’re clear, the woman coming from the other direction is crossing into your lane while attempting to apply her new volumizing mascara. She mercifully takes a break to flutter her eyelashes, glances at the road as an afterthought and swerves back into her lane at the last possible minute. Your heart finally stops racing and you’re comfortable enough to really step on the gas, when a granny-mobile pulls out right in front of you at approximately 7 miles per hour, causing your brakes to hiss in revolt. When you finally get to work having narrowly avoided disaster, you feel like you’ve already starred in the latest Hollywood action flick.

Well, that’s how I feel every day post-transplant, except it’s germs trying to kill me instead of bad drivers. I recently went to have a bone density scan and was expected to wait my turn in a roughly 4 by 4 foot room with seven other people already inside. There might as well have been 100 knife-wielding boa constrictors in there. Another day, my mom and I went to dinner at a place where a salad bar comes with your entrée. I have happily eaten from said salad bar multiple times, but now that’s about as appealing as a buffet of eel eyeballs and poisoned darts. Then there are the elevators at the hospital. When I’m stuffed in there with several other people, I feel like I should be wearing a full biohazard suit and gas mask to protect myself from their coughing and sneezing.

This germ-evading behavior is foreign to me. I’ve always been the person to happily take a bath in my sketchy hotel room, to stretch the 7-second rule to more like 7 days and to rather enjoy buffet-style dining. Now however, it is clear that I need to adjust my behavior and adapt to my newly compromised immune system. Each day I try to channel my inner Edye (a VERY germophobic friend from work). This is my new reality – I have to be on my guard all the time. While I used to feel most threatened in my car on the road, now virtually every other place on earth feels more dangerous to me. I guess I’ll just have to arm myself with Clorox wipes and Purell and get used to taking on this dangerous world, one germ at a time.


  1. Andrea,

    Great post!!!

    And, welcome to my world!! Here are some things you will learn in the very near future, as flu & cold season begins.

    1) Opening doors with your elbows, never using your hands.

    2) Holding your breath like an under water Navy SEAL in public restrooms, while taking care of "business" and then attempting to wash your hands and escape without taking a second breath.

    3) Holding your breath as you walk away abruptly from the 85.27% of the people out in public that are ALL coughing & sneezing in your direction. (My wife still laughs at me when I run off in a different direction)

    4) Your sense of hearing will increase 5 fold as you tune into all of the cough and sneeze sounds.

    5) You will learn to go to movies at unusual times .... when there are only three to five other people in the theater.

    6) You have already learned that hospitals love to group all of us transplantees in with the general, germ infested masses.

    7) You will quickly be known as a germophobe to your family & friends.

    8) You'll learn to carry a disposable mask with you to use as needed.

    Tip : The next 5 to 6 months of cold and flu season can be a bit difficult. You are learning rapidly, though. So you will be OK. (Don't freak out too much the first time you get the symptoms of a head cold, you will be OK)

  2. I love how they make Clorox wipes purse packs, I also find it handy how they make the rubber holder for the mini purell and I can just hook it to the strap of my purse so I don't have to dig through my purse to find it. It makes it easier to make people use it when I always have it out and easy to find, lol! Hope everything is going well with your new heart!

  3. I was just thinking today I should put a 55 gallong drum of Purell on my entry table and make all guests bathe in it before coming in. Germ nazi? Whatev dude, hop in! : ) And I LOVE the face of the guy on the shirt!