Monday, August 31, 2009

Cleanliness Is Next To ... ummm... Never Mind

Week Two:

Went to the chemo bar for my 5-FU refill and had some blood work done. The individual counts are mainly OK. My platelets are good, so I can still clot after all those needle sticks. My white blood cell count is down, not very far down though, and this is expected. However, this means I'm on the way to being immunocompromised, i.e. less able to fight off infection.

We all live and work in places filled with germs. Both our kids are in elementary school, so they'll be bringing home an assortment of corona-, rhino-, adeno- and whatever other viridae cause the common cold. At work (and I don't have to tell you this), any number of people - who should damn well know better - don't wash their hands after using the restroom and make it a point to touch each and every door handle and light switch in the building. There are several of these people on each floor, so they can cover this 10-story building with an economy of effort.

So what steps do you take? Well, a popular infection countermeasure (sounds like a spy story now) is to buy the gel-based hand-sanitizer and neurotically apply it to your hands after any contact with the rest for the world. So I tried to buy a couple of big bottles at Target.

Couldn't find any.

Not a single bottle.

Why not? Because panicked parents, fearing a swine flu pandemic that will give their precious children a fever (keeping them at home and forcing the parents to stay home too), have stripped the store shelves of hand-sanitizer. You can identify the children of these parents because, in a few days, the skin on their hands will be dry and peeling due from repeated use of the alcohol-containing gel. The domino effect will then be evident as these parents return to the stores to buy every bottle of skin moisturizer. So, heed my warning, go buy your Aveeno now.

The take-home lesson is this: Don't get cancer when parents are doing their back-to-school shopping.


  1. but this isn't regular flu, it's *swine* flu and the TV people told me i needed to panic about it. so here we are.

  2. Joe "Lock and Load!" DocSeptember 1, 2009 at 11:27 AM

    White cells, huh? Always blaming the white guy!

    Our kids' pediatrician told Mrs. Doc and I years ago NOT to go crazy over the hand sanitizer because our bodies will never learn to fight the "bad germs" by doing so. We use the stuff sparingly, but do use it.

    As for people not washing their hands... can we apply Sharia law and remove the hands of those who don't do the simple task of washing before leaving the restroom? Can't the Patriot Act help here?

    Guess I'll return to my underground bunker and wait this whole thing out.

  3. It's the five bottles of hand sanitizer that is listed on every kid's back-to-school list. The local kindergarten class is hoarding sanitizer in its supply closet! I say you go take it. A bunch of 5 year olds shouldn't be able to stop you... except that you're immunocompromised and so don't want to touch any of them. Never mind.

  4. I'd like to point out that there are plenty of restrooms around that laugh at the idea of sanitizing in their midst. Most of el banos at RFK come to mind. Word to the wise: Don't touch a dang thing.

    Also, I always felt you probably had great platelets. I have a radar for that sort of thing. Like a 'pladar'....

  5. I'd buy a few 55 gallon drums of the sanitizer, but I'm still recovering financially from buying up a few thousand rolls of duct tape and a half-ton of plastic sheeting from the last public freakout.

  6. Note to self. Buy the I-270 Exit 1 family hand sanitizer for Christmas. Maybe Ralph Lauren will package them with assorted sizes (add lotion too). Pricing, the package will always be less than the individual bottles.