September 19, 2023

Down with OCD? Tip #1: Trigger Happiness

I’m not trying to incite obsessive compulsive disorder. Really, I’m not. I just know that many of us young adult cancer patients have immune systems that are as weak as twigs in a hurricane, and we are looking for new ways to avoid the latest plague. I’d like to share with you my most recent discovery in germ elimination.

After nursing my husband through a rather horrific bout of the stomach flu, I got crafty with a new technique for hosing down the germs in our apartment.

1. Get a bottle of spray cleanser
2. Remove the spray trigger and attached tube
3. Run and squirt water through it to flush out cleanser
4. Screw it into a bottle of rubbing alcohol
5. Open windows
6. Go crazy spraying down door knobs, faucet handles, toilet handles, cell phones, keyboards, and any other surface that can stand up to the task.

For some cancer survivors, the down side of alcohol fumigation may be the smell, which for many can trigger a PTSD response flooding the mind with images of blood draws and sending your gag reflex into a tizzy. On the other hand, perhaps you can look at this as not just an approach to cleaning, but also a method of systematic desensitization. For me, the smell of alcohol wins over the fear of catching the flu. This winter when sneezing, coughing friends leave my house after a dinner party, dishes are not the first thing I will be doing.

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  1. Mike Says:
    September 19th, 2008 at 10:56 PM

    Ha! That whole alcohol thing is a damn good idea. I’ll have to try it. I tend to wash my hands about fifty times a day and carry hand sanitizer and lysol type products for when I’m not at my home and find myself in uncomfortable situations. Uncomfortable situations can be anywhere from having to shake hands with a person who looks a little dirty to having to open the door to a public restroom. On certain days after chemo, I even wear masks and gloves when there are people around. I’m just a lazy guy who would rather just do that than have to go scrub my hands every five seconds. My partner, a young cancer survivor, is pretty much the same way. People think he’s TOO clean. I just think it’s great that we both feel like we can never be too careful.

    OCD cancer couple. Can you imagine how annoying it is for other people who want to hang out with us? :-)

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