Until Art's white blood cell count went way below normal (0.8 Normal range is 4 - 13), the only time I paid attention to germs was in public restrooms and when Langston finished using the bathroom. With Art's white blood cell count way below normal, my fear of germs has reached an unprecedented level. It, they, the little idiots can kill him, becuase lymphoma isn't enough?
Here is the list of things I have read about and been told to watch out for by the doctor:
- Fruit. Bananas, oranges, pinapples etc. OK becuase of their thick skin. All others if even slightly punctured could harvest bacteria AND fungus that can, in his unprepared body, make him very sick.
- Vegatables. Raw cucumber Ok. Thick skin and can be peeled. Raw anything else. Bad.
- Crowds, of any size, leave me in a heightened state of panic. Someone coughed in the elevator we were riding in and it was all I could do not to punch the 'emergency stop' button.
- House plants, flowers go outside. They harbor funguses.
- Kissing? A resounding no!
- Kids. I have worked out a warning system. Green- come on in and smother your father with kisses. Yellow - you need to wash your hands before you touch daddy. Red - strip your cloths off, shower, Purell your body and you may approach within a 10 feet as long as a sniffle or cough has not left your face in the last 24 hours. I will post the colors on the front door.
All these things I fend off and away from Art, daily for three days or so. Two times every month after every chemo treatment. I want to put him in a plastic bubble every time his count drops. It would make me feel better.
In reflection, (his white count was at 8 today!) I see there are only a few places to rest in this disease. They present themselves at odd, unexpected moments, like the other day. Sometimes, I don't even recognize them.