Normally, I don’t get personal hygiene tips from the rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike. But these are not normal times for me. Yes, you might say that a lot has changed.
In fact, I’ve become one of those people other people make fun of. One of the people I used to make fun of. One of those people that Bill Maher makes fun of on TV.
Yes, I am an OCD Germ-a-phobe. I wipe down the grocery cart.
I also use hand sanitizer — 539 squirts per day (hereinafter “SPD”) unless I pump gas or use a public restroom, and then I hit more like 845 SPD. [Please note that that middle letter is a “P” as in Peter, not a “B” like in “Silent But Deadly.” While that subject is related to the concepts in this post, SBDs will be addressed in a separate post.]
I wasn’t always this way. In fact, I became OCD just a couple of months ago. It’s a side effect of a medicine I’m taking.
You see, I’ve been holding out on you. I haven’t told you everything. In fact I have told you almost nothing.
I haven’t told you that I’ve been sick.
Not “go to the hospital” – sick. Not “gotta have surgery” -sick. Not “I’m gonna die” –sick.
Nope, I’ve been “I gotta do something”-sick.
I’ve been “I can’t live like this” -sick.
And I’ve seriously been “pain in the ass” – sick. Literally.
My Crohn’s Disease has been partying in the lower 48 overtime since last fall. In fact, it is trying to bust out of the joint (and the internal organs, too, as a matter of fact). Mostly, it’s bustin’ out of my butt by eating little tunnels into itself to get out.
I sort of have my own Great Escape going on down there. Only without Steve McQueen or Illya Kuryakin.
Basically, my Crohn’s disease is attacking my body. You would assume it would have better manners, wouldn’t you? You’d think it would spring for a pizza instead of abusing my hospitality.
Now, there aren’t a whole lot of options with these tunnels – called “fistulas,” probably because they punch their way out. They hurt. As does the entire nether region. Have you ever done anything without using your butt? It’s the center of gravity — that and the feet. That’s where all your weight is except when you’re lying down.
My primary symptom is a sore butt. A very sore butt. A butt that doesn’t like anything but the softest, thickest cushions to come in contact with it. That Princess with the Pea ain’t got nothing on me.
I had two options.
Option 1: Surgery. Been there, done that. The surgical procedure was perfected during the Spanish Inquisition*
[Oh, there’s not need to break into my house lookin’. The Percocet is gone.]
Option 2: Drugs — Biologics, to be precise. Expensive, intravenously administered drugs that suppress the immune system, making you, well, me, susceptible to all kinds of communicable diseases. Which was why I didn’t want to take them to begin with.
Because I didn’t want to live like this:
I didn’t want to live in a bubble. I wanted to be able to go out. Go to work. Go to the grocery store, a movie, a play without risking my life. Because I was afraid of being infected by someone who was out with the flu, with pneumonia, with any one of a thousand communicative diseases that might be communicated to me by air or by touch.
But it got to the point where I really didn’t have any choice. I could not sit without pain. I couldn’t stand without an aching butt. Bending over hurt. Breathing hurt.
And so I reluctantly agreed, and my doctor put me on one of those drugs with the really long commercials listing warnings and precautions. Don’t worry though: The risk of Priapism is quite remote. And who knows, I might enjoy having an erection.
The good news about this new medicine?
I feel good. I am getting better. So those risks? Yup, I’ll take em. Because the medicine gave me my life back. I just need to wash my hands a lot, do everything I can not to come in contact with sick people (Ha!) and then wash my hands some more.
Which brings us back to Jersey. What does this all have to do with the Jersey Turnpike and hygiene?
Well, it occurred to me in New Jersey while I was at a rest stop, trying to not breathe or touch anything, that those soap dispenser thingy-s are relatively germ free. I mean, you don’t have to touch them at all with your dirty hands after you, well, you know. And I decided that I should buy one of them just as soon as I got home. Who cares if I’d laughed at those gadgets for years – I needed one now, and that made it moderately less stupid to spend money on a battery operated soap dispenser.
And so I did!
Only there’s a difference between mine and the ones on the Jersey Turnpike. You know how those don’t turn on? You go down the line of sinks, moving your hand up and down, backwards and forwards, left and right, in front of each one and get nada. Not so much as a bubble.
Mine? You will be happy to know that mine does not have that problem. In fact, mine won’t turn off. And let me tell you that today’s interior designers should consider suggesting the idea of a red soap encrusted sink to all their upscale customers.
I think I need to go back to New Jersey to find out how to turn it off.
So I’m off on a Road trip! To The Vince Lombardi Rest Stop to learn more about good hygiene.
* * *
Sorry I’ve been holding out on you. It’s not that I don’t love you, really. It’s just that, well, bowel disease is boring. And messy. And uncomfortable. And did I say “boring”? Yeah. Blogging is my escape from poop. Except of course when I write about it. That’s when I laugh at it. So help me do that.
I am looking for the “funny” in bowel disease again. It has been harder to find lately.
And next time you’re in the grocery store or the movie theater? Breathe somewhere else.
* Yay! That’s the only search term that ever comes up on my blog. And I get to see these folks again!
All the photos are from Google, my God.