Insurance Rant

I want to discuss a growing problem for many who care of or live with chronic illness. This is a growing issue that poses a particular problem with those who require on-going medical care, but it is effecting a large number of people.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed in December of 2014. I began treatment after my initial appointment with a rheumatologist in April of 2015. Within this last year I have started therapy with multiple medications to help control the disease and slow the destruction of my joints. Unfortunately, the time required to wait for my initial rheumatologist appointment and the severity of my disease had already destroyed multiple joints to the point of needing multiple surgeries. Disheartening still is realizing at the end of 2015, I would no longer be able to afford my healthcare, with insurance.

I’m not the only one. In a recent thread on social media, a friend shared about how upset she was about the $800 bill she received from one test to a recent trip to the children’s hospital with her daughter. This sparred a conversation with numerous other people who were experiencing the same thing. All those responding had insurance with high deductible plans. The families and their employers are paying premiums for plans that don’t pay anything until a deductible of several thousand dollars is met. This is sadly becoming the norm for families like mine that live on a limited budget and don’t have the money to meet the financial burden required to use the health care system.

I have a disabled child and I have a chronic illness. Thankfully our state offers assistance to children with medical handicaps that helps assure my son doesn’t go without the medication he needs, but the system isn’t perfect. Social security and insurance isn’t automatically provided to underage children with disabilities. Many times the only coverage is through private insurance. I can recall many of our own horror stories as well as those of other parents with special needs children who have had to fight with insurance only to run out of medication for our children. It isn’t right.

I spent the better part of December wondering how I was going to continue my medical care. We have since received generous help from friends who helped meet some of our financial needs, but we still don’t have enough money to pay for the necessary doctor’s appointments and medication I require. Now we have to see if my doctor’s will work out payment plans, see me less often, and reduce my medications to help me try to meet the financial demands of my illness and those of our family.

I guarantee many people are lying in bed with the same worry, how can I afford to pay for my care and still buy groceries or pay my mortgage? I know because I’ve talked with them. Parents are sick over the large bill they received because their child had an unexpected visit to the hospital, the caregiver to an aging parent is worried because they have to figure out how to pay mom or dad’s mortgage while they spend time at a nursing home in rehab, or a parent of a child with severe epilepsy is crying because insurance is using every last tactic to stop shipment on the only medication keeping their child seizure free. How is any of this okay? Is anyone else ready to speak out about this? I hope so because no one should ever have to compromise their health care but sadly this is happening every day.

*d*

What is Important to Me in the Coming Election

Dear Presidential Candidates,

I would like to be very candid with you about my life because I am a representation of many silent voters who are watching you carefully. I am an American who is living with chronic illness and I am also an American who has a special needs child. It may be rare to have both a debilitating disease and a child with one but here we are and I want share 6 points that are important to me. By the way, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and my son has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Neither disease has a cure so our problems are life long, so we hope for long term solutions to the issues that are important to us.

So, how can my life be important for your champaign?

1: My son collects Social Security Disability Income.
Thus far, I do not. My disease has become more debilitating since my diagnosis and some day I may choose to apply for Social Security Income, but the difficult process is enough to make me steer clear of it for now. Everything I have learned and experienced about social security is difficult. I don’t have to go any farther than my phone to realize how broken our system has become. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate this vital lifeline but we have developed a love/hate relationship with this program that was supposed to be designed to help children and families like mine.

2: We are directly effected by drug companies charging outrageous prices on medications.
My son was prescribed a medication for a type of catastrophic epilepsy called Infantile Spasms. We saw a huge increase in the price of this medication after FDA approval. He has since started a new specialty medication and because of the price, we are required by insurance to get preapproval every three months. This means I am a sick with worry every three months wondering if they will approve the only medication that has helped my son have an improved quality of life and seizure control. When has it been acceptable business practice to jeopardize lives to make money? The practice of specialty medications being distributed only by speciality pharmacies has also become an issue. The problems some families run into with these pharmacies is inexcusable. These problems range from allowing delay in medication shipment (even if it means the patient will run out of medication) and dropping a patient without proper notification (we have experienced both).

3: I refused medication to treat my own disease because I didn’t know if I could afford it in the future.
In January our high deductible insurance starts a new year and we still don’t know if we will be able to afford the out of pocket cost until our deductible is met. More private insurance companies are offering skyrocketing deductibles with H.S.A. accounts. They try to say we can thus control our own health care with an H.S.A. but this is false. In the end we are paying a premium, pushing money into an H.S.A. account, and we still don’t have nearly enough money to cover these huge deductibles.

4: My son and I have missed out on equipment, medication and therapy needed to help us live the best quality of life.
Everything comes with a price tag and if you have a disease, are disabled, or have been diagnosed with something like autism or sensory issues, expect a huge price tag. My son has needed protective headgear and a bed enclosure for his epilepsy and we needed help paying for these steeply priced products. He have lived without many items that would certainly make life easier for both of us because paying the price for these items would be nearly impossible, even with assistance.

5: Getting help paying for the variety of different needs is complicated.
Life is already hard with these difficulties and so many people have to navigate the paperwork and hoops to try to get what is needed and/or prescribed. How to get help should be clear and require minimal paperwork.

6: Families are choosing between health and cost.
No one asks to be diagnosed with something life altering. No one asks to live a difficult life made harder by the system that seems to work against people like me and families like mine. The government needs to decide if it actually wants to help or just talk about it. Cutting funding for critical needs programs is a low practice that needs to be stopped. In the end, you aren’t messing with dollars, you are messing with lives.

We are supposed to be living in the greatest county but many Americans are without insurance or reasonable insurance plans to pay for their medication and health care. It is a tragedy when drug companies can set their own prices and have no regard to the lives effected when the medication patients need is out of reach. If you don’t believe it, go to the local hospital and ask questions instead of taking pictures. I guarantee parents still have to leave the hospital empty handed and without what they need to take care of themselves or a sick child. The life of the sick should never carry a price tag. How sad. It’s time to consider what life is like for those who need the most help.

*d*

The Dogged Question

Let me preface this by saying that I love animals and have grown up with a variety of furry friends from pet mice all the way up to my beloved late Appaloosa horse. Children are also acceptable but I am more likely to hang out with your kid if he’s well-behaved. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. I’m not an expert on all these creatures, but time and experience has given me a well-rounded knowledge.

That being said, last week I was dog-sitting for a friend. She’s a tiny black Pomeranian—the dog, not my friend—with a summer haircut the neighborhood kids would definitely make fun of if she were people. The dog has always been overjoyed and clingy with me when I visit my friend so we thought she’d be fine coming to spend a few days with her Aunt ~L~. And she was. I mean, sure she missed her mom, but she mellowed out pretty quickly and was a joy to have. Except for that pesky being-a-dog part.

Does this haircut make my head look huge?
Does this haircut make my head look huge?

Dogs are needy and very reliant on their people. I know this, and yet, I’m still amazed by the level of dependence. Don’t misunderstand me! Dogs are great! They’re fiercely loyal and forgiving and make great friends. But I’m just not the kind of person who likes adding more time consumption to my day. That’s why I have cats. They’re easy because most of the time, they could care less if I exist or not. I could be on fire and they wouldn’t look away from the sliding glass door to the patio.

Having basically a furry, adorable toddler in the house made me think about something that often bothers me, sometimes to an eye roll, sometimes to a teeth grinding anger.
Though I’m not a dog person, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had years of experience with family pets and the pets of friends. The same goes with kids. In fact, I find myself equating having a dog with having a small child, especially if it’s a puppy. And this brings me to my point. Dogs and kids are great, but they’re most likely NOT for me.

I’ll be 34 in August. I married Husband a little over two years ago. When we got together, the obnoxious question on everyone’s lips was: “When are you gonna get married?” Once we were engaged, it evolved into: “Have you picked a date yet?” And once I marched down that aisle and Flashmobbed my reception hall (seriously, we did, and it was AWEsome), the question became down right personal: “When are you going to have kids?”

Since I was probably 11 or 12, I’ve felt like I never wanted to have kids. Until I got married, I was only slightly aware that all of humanity was expecting me to want to. That seems a little messed up to me. First, I find everyone’s preoccupation with both my vagina’s business and my uterus’s functionality kind of disgusting. And it takes a lot to gross me out. Ask *d*. But if you think about someone asking you when you plan to have children, you realize what they’re really asking is: “When will you and your husband be having sex in order to make a baby?” See? I could get far more descriptive, as I’ve thought about this quite a bit, but I won’t. Second, it makes me angry when someone hears my answer: “I don’t want kids,” and insists that I do, in fact want them. That it’ll be different when it’s your own kid. I am under no delusions that it won’t be different. Of course it will. I’m not a mother but I’m also not an IDIOT. What really makes my jaw clench (and causes heavy use of italics in my blogs) is the idea that other people feel like they know what I want and insinuate that they also know my body, mentality, and personal preferences better than I do. STOP. IT.

I know myself very well. That’s the beauty of waiting to get married until after I turned 30. I’ve had those 30 + years to get to know just what I can and can’t stand, what I like to do, and where I want to go. The decision to remain child-free is not something I take lightly. In fact, I still mull it over at least weekly. It’s like I’m checking my stats and seeing if this is the week I will change my mind (SPOILER ALERT: IT ISN’T). But I do think about it. I don’t think about it because I’m hounded by so many people (even those close to me who should know better), but because there is part of me that would like to have someone to teach all the things I’ve learned on this speed-bump riddled road of life. I don’t doubt my capabilities to love unconditionally and sacrifice as a mother should. But I also understand that I like the way my life is and that I am selfish and wish to stay that way. At least when it comes to devoting time to a kid. Hell, I don’t even want a dog. I’m not going to do what everyone expects when I know it’s not right for me.

If my plan changes in the near future (‘cause let’s face it, it would have to happen soon since I ain’t getting’ any younger), it will have nothing to do with the harping and nagging of others who harp and nag even though it’s not their bodies or lives that will be altered.

How offended would you be if you had children and I told you shouldn’t?

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Perspective could save us all…

~L~

Diary of a Mad Allergy Sufferer

I’ve been up since 4AM. My husband gets up that early to go to work and I don’t know how he’s still standing at 9PM. My allergies have been nasty this winter. It probably has something to do with the house being all shut up and there being an extra cat (one of my worst triggers) here with Granny. So, I was awakened several times last night with that annoying little tickly cough and finally jarred completely awake at 4.

I’ve had allergies as long as I can remember and if you suffer too, you know the struggle is real. No, really. It sucks. Try going anywhere and staying overnight with your friends in a hotel. When you wake up in the morning and you’re hacking phlegm all the way up from your toes in that super echoy bathroom making your friends swear a 65-year-old lounge singer who’s smoked her whole life sneaked into the room sometime in the night and is using the bathroom. Like nature? Not since I’m allergic to air. Even though I have an admiration and respect for the flora and fauna that grace this planet, I catch myself leering at the fields of corn, soybeans, wheat, flowers…well, you get the idea. I love animals but when I look at them, all I see is the near future consisting of a box of tissues and itchy eyes. I think a combo of being a cleaner and allergic to everything makes me see things like intricate, ornate woodwork, ledges along high ceilings, or lots of knickknacks as an evil conspirator with dust. It also makes me dumb. Or just very unlucky.

I’m really good at cleaning so it only makes sense that my body would react to the activity like it was trying to put out a fire with my draining nose. It’s a cruel joke, in my opinion. But it doesn’t stop me from cleaning. If anything, I clean harder. Most of the places I clean I’ve been doing for long enough that the dust is under control. However, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve faced a problematic job since the end of last summer. With three people and five large breed dogs in the house, the dust is never under control. It’s dust chaos. If I were to try and remove it from every surface, I’d be there the rest of my life because as soon as I got through the house, which is over 3000 square feet, I’d have to start over again. The dust settles so quickly that each week, it’s like I never dusted at all. With my OCD, the part of cleaning that is so satisfying is seeing the difference I make. It makes my mind happy and all the physical work worth it. I see a sliver of it when I’m done for the day, but I know it will only last a matter of hours and that almost hurts. This is just proof that my love for cleaning is a mental disorder.

So, I decided to quit. I need the money but as I’ve mentioned in the post Open Doors and Benadryl , it’s not worth it. I’ve also lost numerous Fridays of possible productivity because I simply am too sick to get off the couch. The allergic reaction from being exposed to the dust and dog hair lasts into the night and often leaves me feeling horrible the following morning. I’m tired of losing time because of it. It would be one thing if I felt like I made a difference but I don’t. Not only is the dust always back, my hard work goes unacknowledged and even disrespected at times. It wasn’t until the day I decided to quit the first time (I got a temp position and thought I could quit cleaning), that I was told that I was doing a good job. I don’t expect to hear it every time I clean, but I need to know that I am meeting expectations. It’s necessary to know what I need to do better. I don’t like taking people’s money and not giving them what they pay for. It also lets me know that what I’m doing is helping them, and that’s the core of why I do what I do. I’ve had more than one occurrence of the family walking right over my wet floors as I mop. In the beginning, things were picked up so I could do my job, but as time went on, less and less was put away, causing me double the work in the same time frame. I’ve never gotten out in the agreed upon 4 hours. It was always 20-45 minutes longer and that’s time I was never paid for. I could’ve said something, but I was afraid to lose the job by asking for more money. Now, the money has become a secondary issue to my health.

Two more weeks, and I can walk away. I’ll be devoting my free time slot to my writing and my new job. Both of which give me more validation and respect. I wish the family the best and hope that they might realize they need more than a weekly cleaning lady. They need a full-time housekeeper. And that definitely isn’t me.

~L~

Harping On My Fellow Drivers

(And why I don’t look like the cute pink guy shooting eggs from Super Mario 2.)

image

Yep, I’m that angry guy.

We moved to a new school district a year and a half ago. I like the school. It has an excellent rating, the staff is friendly, and the community is involved in school activities. I have no doubt my children will be getting a great education. There is one problem…… the drop-off and pick-up area is a disaster. The school is new and situated a distance from the road. There is a single drive to the building. During pick-up and drop-off, there is always a line of vehicles down the drive.  The drive goes up to the school, takes a left turn and runs along the front of the school. To leave, another left is made to the adjacent parking lot and back out to the drive. This would be a great idea if most drivers had common sense.

At the beginning of the year a newsletter comes out and a portion of it explains the procedure for picking up and dropping off students. The same speech is also given at the PTO meeting prior to the first day of school. Vehicles are to pull up as far as possible to allow cars behind them the opportunity to also pull up. This would make the process more efficient. There is an extensive sidewalk along the entire front of the school. The idea is for children to utilize the sidewalk so multiple cars can be loading or unloading at the same time. This never happens. In the morning, every other car stops directly in front of the front door so their children won’t have to walk. There is ample room to pull up beyond the front doors but people must think it may cause harm to ask students to walk a small distance to the door. If I have the opportunity to pull forward, I do it hoping others will follow. That never works.  In the afternoon, the kids find their way to the waiting cars and that sometimes speeds up the process. The problem in the afternoon is the one car that parks in the loading area. They also refuse to pull forward and this causes problems. Other drivers are unaware that the vehicle in front of them will not be moving and after waiting, they put their car in reverse so they can leave and allow others to pull forward. With kids walking around the loading area, this is concerning. Bad weather makes all of this worse. Last year I had to call the school and explain why my son was tardy. It was a rainy day and because of the increased traffic, it took twenty minutes to reach the front door. I learned to leave my house no later than twenty five minutes before school starts and I live in town.

It have learned to tolerate this disfunctional process but today, I couldn’t take it anymore. At pick-up one woman decided to park three cars in front of me. There were several cars waiting behind me. The line was not moving. When one of the two cars in front of me put their car in reverse,  I knew it was another parked car causing the slow down. I pulled up behind the parked car. My son came and got in my vehicle. On the way out, I rolled down my window and told her she may want to rethink parking where she had because it was hard to get around her. I also pointed out that there were several cars waiting behind her to pick up children. The woman looked shocked. I didn’t yell and I wasn’t angry,  I clearly told her what others may have been afraid to say, or at least pointed out what her common sense didn’t. I passed her and saw the superintendent in front of the building. He knows me and he knows what I drive because of the special circumstances with my special needs child. I guess he will know who to contact if he gets a complaint.

I immediately felt remorse as I knew the kids arguing in the car and the stress of my day probably pushed me over the edge and prompted me to say something. I realized I had not considered her circumstances. She was smoking and seemed to be casually waiting but I shouldn’t have assumed anything. This sums up my life. I believe I have a great deal of tolerance for many things. When I have finally had my fill of some sort of injustice, I speak up and fill with regret. I worry if I hurt someone’s feelings and it really upsets me to think I could have made someone cry. I admit that I am a bit intolerant of other drivers and I have liberally used my horn to vent my frustrations. I recently aired my grievances when another driver became impatient and narrowly squeezed between my vehicle and a mail truck. In those moments, I don’t feel as bad but I still worry. After watching drivers for over a year use very little common sense when negotiating an area full of cars and children, I had reached my boiling point. I now know that I must keep my frustrations under control in the future before I earn myself a reputation for being the crazy parent who yells at other parents from my vehicle.

I imagine everyone has their weaknesses. I am pretty sure mine is not other drivers as much as the notion of people who do not consider anyone but themselves. Maybe that is why today bothered me and why it bothers me every time I speak up, I don’t want to turn into one of those people. To make up for it, my husband suggested I do something kind for someone else. I think the world would be a much better place if we all spread a little kindness first. I think I will need a lot of practice spreading that kindness behind the wheel. I am sure other drivers will continue to give me plenty of opportunities to practice restraint.

*d*

Knee High in a Rant

Sometimes when I have a difficult day  I imagine sitting in front of a tall window dressed in sheer covering. The sun is amber and the wind is trickling in the crack of the window to disturb the sheer. I imagine the blue sky beyond and feel the warm breeze rise up my feet. It pulls at me and dares me to chase. I could run barefoot until I could run no longer. I would then lay back and watch the clouds float further than I could ever go. It would be quiet, it would be peace.

I love nature but find it hard to leave the comfort of my house. It has been hard to handle all my children outside the home with my special needs son. I never know when and what may set him off so it is less anxious for us both to remain here. I save my dreams for days when I have helping hands. There are also dreams I may never fulfill. These dreams are simple but it feels like they were taken from us by a thief. Taken by a greedy disease with it’s fear and unpredictability. I want a life back and it will never happen. I can try to be optimistic, but it won’t change the facts. I grieved for the life my son will never have and now I grieve for the life we have left behind. It sounds selfish but it’s true. Disease has a grieving process very similar to death. Maybe I have yet to reach acceptance.

This window I dream about is something I have been escaping to since I was a child. I had found that I had the ability to escape in my mind when my body could not. I hope my son can figure out how to do the same. I hope he can find a place far from his sometimes sad reality. He will never know a day without medicine. He may never understand why he must live with this burden and I may never be able to explain it to him. He just doesn’t understand but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t struggle because I assure you he does. That is a hard pill to swallow, even for a faithful person. He has purpose and meaning. His life has already made differences, although he may never know.

For all he is, it makes my heart hurt to know that I cannot provide him all that he deserves. I can’t provide him a beautiful day in the park if his disease won’t allow me the ability to help him enjoy it. I am angry that so much has been taken from all of us. I have lost my identity in this disease right along with him. I didn’t want it to take over my life, it just happened. I have to think about it every day. I think about it the four times a day he gets his medicine. I think about it every time he gets on a bus and isn’t able to attend school with the peers in our hometown. I will think about it every time a school milestone occurs and he won’t be asked to participate. Sadly I can’t carry this for him. I can only grab his hand and help him along and when it’s really bad, I can carry him.  Mostly, I wish I could take it away.

I feel removed from this life in a lot ways so please excuse me when I seem put off by the problems I wish I had and forgive me if I can’t be more sympathetic. I am busy staring out my window. My mind is too busy running out the window and toward the sun and imagining a normal existence.

*d*

Open Doors and Benadryl

There are days I think I have this all figured out and I know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m supposed to be when I grow up. Then there are days like today, and days like last Friday that tell me I’m completely wrong about having a clue.
The new year is a fresh start for a lot of people. Not me. I spend all year scrutinizing my choices, making resolutions I never keep, feeling like I need to make my life better. The new year is just more of the same. There is no discernible difference in my anxiety levels, my drive or lack thereof, in say, June compared to December and the beginning of January. It’s all the same. One chaotic “What the hell am I gonna do?”
Very recently, I considered taking my cleaning job and making it my “real” job. What I mean by that is promoting my cleaning service and treating it like a small business instead of a side job while I work on my writing. I’ve been looking for a full-time job or a decent paying part-time gig, so I’m in the market to work more than I currently am but I’m not having much luck landing an interview, let alone a job. I’m good at the cleaning thing and I have no doubt that if I really threw myself into building a business around it, I could get enough jobs to pay the bills and then some. Then I think about the downsides.
Though I excel at pleasing my current clients with excellent customer service and perfection driven cleanliness, the work is hard. It’s downright exhausting in some cases. I still want to write in my free time and I’m afraid that if I take on several more jobs, I’ll be too tired. Not like now—how I’m always so wide awake. *YAAAAAAAWN*
Then there’s the reality that I try to ignore and that’s that I have terrible allergies to pretty much everything that a cleaning job has to offer: dust and pet dander. And though it’s not an allergy, I have sensitivity to strong cleaners, probably because my sinuses are already inflamed and downright pissed off at me just from everyday breathing. I suffer through every day and most of my jobs aren’t very sneeze inducing, at least not anymore. I have the dust under control in almost every case. It’s that one case where there is absolutely NOTHING I can do to keep the dust at bay that makes me reconsider my business venture. I assure you that it’s not just the dust.
Today, I almost saw the junk of the son of my ultra-dusty client. I’d gone around and poured BLUE toilet bowl cleaner into all four toilets and let it sit. After some time, I began to clean them. When I got back to the son’s toilet, he was standing there, peeing, looking out the window, with the door open.
“Oh, Geez!” I said, turning quickly back the way I’d come. “Sorry ‘bout that.”
Later, in the kitchen, he said, “Sorry. I forgot you were here today.”
I assured him it was fine and really it was. I didn’t actually get a glimpse of anything. I also understood that with the holiday, he could’ve easily forgotten what day it was. I felt like it was Saturday all day today, when in fact, it’s definitely Friday. I can only assume that he didn’t look into the toilet bowl to aim and see the blue cleaner, put two and two together, and realize I was there. Or perhaps he was too tired to notice.
This near eyeful isn’t really the issue. Beyond the uncontrollable dust, the job is very physically taxing as I clean at a breakneck speed for four hours just so I’m not cheating myself out of money. I finished almost a half hour late today because everyone was home and my routine was knocked off kilter. That’s time I won’t be paid for. On top of never actually finishing in the agreed upon four hours, it’s not really worth the 30 minute drive or the level of cleaning I have to do every week. The amount of work I put into this job is the same as I devote to my monthly jobs that take from four to six hours. Last week, after spending a full 8 hours there helping to prepare for a holiday family visit, I left with a sore throat, cough, and a splotchy rash down my neck, not to mention, a gargle-worthy amount of phlegm. I took two Benadryl and went to bed pretty early that night. These are the things that make me consider that my future might not be in the cleaning industry.
I can’t load myself down with exhausting jobs if I want to be able to pursue writing at the same time. I also can’t do a job that literally makes me sick. I feel like signing up for more jobs potentially like this one could be bad for my health. Getting a sinus infection every month because I expose myself to what I know is bad for me, well, that’s just crazy. What’s really disappointing is that I know I’d be good at it. I know I’d make a name for myself cleaning.
Such is the internal battle waging as of late. If it’s not this, it’ll be something else. There is no peace in my mind. I suppose that’s one significant reason why I write. That, and it doesn’t make me sneeze.

~L~

Toweling Off

For years I’ve tried to figure out what I’m good at. Moreover, what I’m good at that I can make money doing. As it turns out, the only things I’m good at won’t make me much money. What I’d really like to do professionally is write. I’ve been writing stories since I was able to construct sentences. I’ve journaled for years, blogged, and even wrote a novel. What most people don’t realize is just how hard it is to make a living as a writer. Hell, I had no idea it was going to be this hard until this past year. The amount of work that goes into perfecting a manuscript and getting it published is unfathomable to anyone who hasn’t tried. So, while I struggle toward publication, I have to do something to pay for those haunting student loans and the English degree that has yet to earn its keep. So, I turned to the only other thing I feel that I do well: cleaning.

I started cleaning for a friend and got referred to her friends and family and so on and so on. So I clean for several folks in an effort to pursue my writing and still keep the loan collectors from taking me to court. It’s pretty hard work sometimes, not to mention gross. Especially since I’m a functioning germ-a-phobe.

I’m all too aware of the germs on and in everything. I think about the nastiness on every surface I come into contact with and shudder if I accidentally put my fingers in my mouth before washing them (I have a horrible nail biting habit). But I don’t let my awareness keep me from doing anything. I just wash my hands regularly. I still use hand towels in my home bathroom because I can’t bring myself to use paper towels since I’m also keenly aware of the environment. So, I change the towels about every two days as a way to compromise and to try to keep the nastiness to a minimum. Maybe that’s psycho-level often, but it makes me feel better so I do it.

I take into account that I am border-line insane when it comes to a lot of things including my germ awareness. However, if you never change your hand towels, I feel okay judging you. You know who you are. You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my head at you.

The truth is that not everyone washes their hands the way the CDC would prefer but you can bet that they’re still drying them on that towel. That means it’s not just water clinging to those absorbent fibers. If I can see discoloration in the spot where I know everyone’s been drying their hands or if the towel crunches when I pick it up, you have surpassed the time limit for a single towel to be displayed. Your towel’s 15 weeks of fame are up. I think a good rule of thumb, for the non-crazies out there, is to change the towel at least weekly. When I see the same towel hanging that was there the last two months or better, I tend to take some paper towels into the bathroom with me. I mean, what’s the point of washing my hands and then wiping them dry with the crusty germs of everyone that’s used the towel in the last half a year. Also, if you have pets, don’t put out what’s supposed to be a fresh towel and let me pick it up to dry my clean hands only to find it covered in pet hair. Despite their cuteness or lovability, their hair on a hand towel is disgusting. If I wanted to wipe my wet palms on pet hair, I’d dry them on your dog.

http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

~L~