As I try and get on with the meaning of life, I am ever aware of the fact that I now have to take certain measures to ensure that I am not struck down with hysterical diarrhoea again or a bad bug of bad bugs. Post transplant, I am ever aware that I have to be cautious when it comes to all things germ related. I can confirm that this is caution is tedious. Everywhere I look, everywhere I go and everything I do represents potential danger. So imagine what it is like in London.
If I am not careful, I could develop a complex. If I am not careful, I could experience something that is less than pleasant. It’s a catch 22.
The caution is not from the unexpected (http://ejbones.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/hand-washing/), a stem cell transplant does compromise one’s immune system after all. Everything I read prior to my transplant told me that my immune system is now pants.
Wash, wash, wash, they said. Be clean, they said. Avoid disease, they said.
* Wash your your hands wherever you may go, before you do anything and after you have done it
* Do not put anything dirty in your mouth
* Do not go abroad for 12 months
* Only eat food that is dead of all things, not just the obvious
* Do not eat reheated food
* Do not let somebody sneeze into your mouth
* Do not lick the seat of a public toilet
The list goes on and on of course. And on. Fortunately for me, and I am trusting their judgement on this, my Medically Trained People are not as rigid as my Internet research implied. I am back on the raw cherry tomatoes for example and that is a marvellous thing. If I think that is marvellous, imagine what I thought when they said I could go abroad, not too far, three months after my transplant date. On this subject, I am playing it by ear.
I do not know how much of a threat coughs and sneezes actually are to me. My bloods are back to normal, but I swear at ten points in my recent history, I was told to avoid the coughs and sneezes for they spread diseases, but then just the other day, I was told that I was being needlessly cautious.
There is a part if me that wants to be overly zealous, and live in a plastic bubble of cleanliness forever and ever and ever, and who disinfects after and during every encounter with Bruce. The other part of me wants to stick two fat fingers up and myeloma and my transplant and suck down a dozen oysters in rebellion.
In reality, I am doing neither.
I cannot help but see a threat to my health in almost everything now. As a thumb sucker, this new approach to cleanliness, is cumbersome to say the least. I stroke the dogs, I was my hands. I come in from the outside, I was my hands. I just lurve washing my hands. I carry antibacterial hand wash in my handbag. I really do. I draw the line at the face mask, despite having some hidden in the mess that is my bedroom,
If it was just my hands, that would be one thing, but it is not. Germs do not restrict themselves to hands. In my life to date, I have very much thought that exposure to germs is a good thing. I have not licked any toilet seats, but when it comes to food, for example, I have always thought that a little bit of germ exposure builds the immune system. Unless I was catering for somebody, I would never was my fruit or veg, well, apart from the leek, for those things are muddy. Now, if I want a strawberry or currently, the overly priced fancy cherry tomato, I have to wash them and dry them to eat them. My current preferred method is the sieve. A sieve? I just want to eat them. I have never understood people who wash an apple and then dry it in a hand towel. I understand now, they had all undergone immune compromised treatment as well.
I may have accidentally tasted a few prawns a weeks so ago, and reheated a soup, and ate some cold meat, but prior to doing this I did wash my hands. A day later, I experienced some unpleasantness from the bowel. Was it just a coincidence or did my lack of willpower let me down? We will never know, but the paranoia ruined the experience of eating these things in the first place. The propaganda worked. I was suitable scared and now for the foreseeable future, I will have to be sensible. Yawn in my face why don’t you.
More excitement is to come. I have to have a flu jab. The question now is, when does this have to stop? Can I have a follow up question? Okay. When is enough, enough?
And if you have managed to reach the bottom of this blog, I think the word count alone is a testament to my anxiety, either that or I need an editor… I clearly am a sucker for the propaganda.
As for now, be clean little ones. Be clean.