I’ve never been a big germophobe…until now. These days I’m not sure what we can let Ana do in terms of germ exposure, so I’ve been running anything questionable past Dr. Hochberg before letting her do it (for the most part). The exception to this is the trip to Adam’s to get a salad – Jim was against this, but I convinced him it was okay if I handled all the utensils. But today someone emailed me and said she’d been cautioned against salad bars and raw fruits and vegetables (except those she could peel herself) while she was on chemo because of the potential exposure to bacteria.
My first thought when I read that was, “OH MY GOD…BACTERIA! HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO NEGLIGENT??” I was with Emily at Karate when I got the email, so I immediately called Jim and asked him to please email Dr. Hochberg to see if the salad bar was okay and, while he was at it, find out if fruits and vegetables were also okay (she’s been living on strawberries and cheese for the last few weeks).
I must sound like a crazy person to Dr. Hochberg. I’d already sent her two emails in the last 24 hours about various germ-related dangers (can she go to her school dance? can she take a bath and, if so, do we need to avoid specific bath products?)
Good news – yes on the dance, yes on baths (and bath products) yes on the salad bar (and fruits and vegetables).
My newfound germophobia wasn’t enough to stop me from taking Ana and Emily out on a Saturday afternoon shopping spree today for some much needed necessities (Emily has outgrown all her boots, Ana needed to get her Katniss costume, etc.) I told Ana to put hand sanitizer on every time we entered or left a store. I have no idea if this actually helps because I’ve never EVER consistently used hand sanitizer, but it does make me feel better.
I wanted to make my obsession with killing germs into something fun so we stopped into Bath & Body Works and each picked out two bottles of mini-hand sanitzer in yummy scents.
So there it is. Banishing germs doesn’t mean we all need to smell like hospital disinfectant (we have at least four of those gigantic bottles of Purel in the house and I can’t stand the smell.) I also got some Stress Relief bubble bath for Ana. Showers have been extremely stressful for her because of the need to cover the catheter and ports with a plastic dressing that sticks to her skin (and thus must be ripped off – painfully – afterwards).
I really just wanted to make bathing a more pleasant experience for her and suggested she take long, soaking, hot bubble baths with lots of delicious bath products (and maybe even a candle or two). She could sit up in the tub so we wouldn’t have to tape up her catheter site (as long as we keep the ports dry, Dr. Hochberg said this is fine). I want to turn the bath into a haven for her, instead of a source of dread and a reminder of everything that’s going wrong with her body.
All in all it was a good day. Emily now has waterproof boots and new sneakers. Ana has a well-equipped Katniss outfit and we all have fabulous-smelling hand sanitizer. We spent nearly three hours out and about which was super fun and super exhausting (in a good way). Oh, and I forgot to mention that I bought both girls two Neff hats which they love. Here’s a shot of Emily in one of hers: