Fear of colds, flu and pneumonia. Antibacterial products or not

Last year I had pneumonia, actually double pneumonia. When my son-in-law called an ambulance because I couldn’t make it to his car, that’s when we both knew I had waited a little too long to see a Doctor.


He kept very cool and calm . I didn’t. When the medics tried to lay me down on their gurney, I fought them. I mean I really fought them, punching one in the arm. I didn’t want to lay down. It made me feel like I was drowning. I wanted to sit up and I was going to sit up if it killed me- or them. At that point it didn’t matter. Unfortunately it was three against one and they won. It was all for insurance purposes that I had to lay down and be strapped in. I gave a good fight but lost. They did try hard to raise the back of the gurney but it wasn’t enough. I needed air and I needed it now. We all finally made it into the ambulance and they put something over my mouth. It wasn’t oxygen, they had already stuck that up my nose. It was probably a nebulizer with meds in it. Thank goodness, it worked fast and I finally felt like I was getting some air. Then it hit me. I must have looked like some crazy person to them. I did apologize for whacking the one that I did. He was fine about it, said it happens all the time. I got well after three weeks in the hospital and a rehab center.

fh-mob2.jpgFalmouth Hospital

heritage-falmouth.jpgJML Carer Center

Now, the point of all of this is ever since it happened my sister and I are very afraid of germs and bacteria and other nasties you find on money and doorknobs and grocery carts (one of the worst, so I’ve been told by my paranoid sister). In one of the smaller grocery stores in town, they actually have a vat of antibacterial wipes you can use after you shop. But I got my sister covered for Christmas.I gave her a pen shaped thing you can carry with you in your pocketbook then just spray it on your hands and voila , no germs–hopefully. I also got her the wipes in single packs to carry around with her but I left myself defenseless. I have nothing. But then again, do I really need anything. They say you need to expose your body to some germie things so you will build up your immune system towards them. What a dilemma ? To wipe or not to wipe. I know I don’t want to fight paramedics anymore.

I take all sorts of natural immune boosters. Maybe that will help. But is it enough? Where does it end. Hopefully not with me in the hospital again. Though the food at our local hospital is awesome. It’s like a restaurant, you get all these choices and it actually tastes good. I know a few ladies who actually meet there once a week for lunch. Unfortunately, the food at the Rehab center wasn’t so great. I think their nutritionist was on drugs. I was on there so called low fat diet and I gained 7 lbs. OK, so a few people did bring me snacks. But only popcorn and corn crackers. OK, so I did sneak into the kitchen and got little tubs of peanut butter and stuffed them in my pockets for the crackers.

But, should I go to the store and buy antibacterial wipes. I could at least wipe off the grocery shopping carts

shopping_cart.gifThey probably all have the flu.

and doorknobs and telephones. My son-in-law is catching a cold again. He got a cold just before I got pneumonia last year so I’m staying as far away from him as possible but he touches stuff. Maybe I should buy plastic gloves. Maybe I should just go to a motel.   Oh Lord, I just touched my eyes and I don’t know if my hands are clean or if I touched something my son-in-law touched. He’s in the kitchen cooking turkey soup.  You can bet your ass I’m not eating it. It’s a weight watchers dinner tonight. Hopefully it’s been frozen long enough to kill germs.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 00:24:12

    That double pnuemonia episodes sounds terrifying. I hope you’re breathing easier nowadays.

    I’m not a doctor, don’t play one on television either, but my gut says that immune boosting is the right strategy. We can’t live our lives in fear of microbes, they’re absolutely EVERYWHERE! That blue sketch shopping family ARE all sick, the artist chose to leave out the snot dripping from their noses. Not only that, their cart is full of packaged stuff, but no real food. No fruits or vegetables, onions or garlic. No wonder they have the flu.


  2. joanharvest
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 01:27:24

    I actually just ordered from a vitamin website some medicinal mushrooms, Ester C, my food based multivitamin, and alas I broke down and bought some all natural hand sanitizer (basically they are all just alcohol, I should probably just drink some alcohol and not worry about this so much).

    You’re right, I actually thought of drawing snot coming out of the kid’s nose in the cart. Kids that age always have it hanging from their noses.

    I don’t know who was more terrified, me or the medics. At least they acted with dignity–not me- now when the story is told, everyone just laughs at me whacking the medic.

    I hope LWB comes up with a good patron St. for toasters. I’m sure she will. I have complete faith in her. I never eat toasted bread but I do like a good English muffin once in a while but my toaster always burns the sides of them and the inside stays untoasted. Well, I’m sure Wendy will work hard on finding the right Saint so we can all toast stuff again.


  3. Wendy
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 13:46:25

    I’m also afraid of germs. The supermarket here has antibacterial wipes right near the cart, so you can wipe off the handle before using them. I’ve always been freaked about the cart handles. When Max was a baby I had him in the cart seat, and while I was shopping (A&P in Sandwich) I looked at him and saw he was chewing on someone’s old Band-Aid that was stuck the handle! I started screaming, then I started gagging. I might even have started crying, I don’t remember. Then I complained to the manager, who listened to me but the whole time he had a really weird look on his face like I was a nut, or one of those people who normally wears a pair of rubber gloves everywhere she goes.

    Know what’s scary? I always wash my hands as soon as I get home from shopping, and the water always turns gray from dirt/disease germs. So, basically, I’m wondering if wearing rubber gloves when I go out isn’t such a bad idea.

    Another scary thing: When I was doing nails, I had TO FORCE my clients to go wash their hands before I started working on them. I also used to start every appointment by spraying their hands with alchol to the point that their hands were dripping wet. I always wished it was Clorox, but I tried that once and a woman complained that her hands were burning. (Which made my friend and co-worker Theresa laugh out loud.) These people, most people really, are so oblivious and selfish. They’d call in sick to work but still show up for their fucking nail appointment, and cough in your face the whole time you were working on them. I used to wear a hospital mask and tell them it was because of the nail dust. It wasn’t. It was because of their germs.


  4. Wendy
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 13:49:38

    I should add that when I would wear the hospital mask, the client would inevitably ask, “Well why didn’t wear one with her?” referring to the previous client. And I’d say, “I don’t know, what the fuck? Are you writing a book or something?”
    And the reality was that I was the one taking notes and writing the book. And they’re in it.


  5. Wendy
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 16:20:50

    Wait … I just saw the part about ordering medical mushrooms.
    ARE. YOU. FUCKING. KIDDING. ME? What is wrong with you that you haven’t shared this with me? How many can I get? Will they take a credit card over the phone?


  6. Barbara
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 18:28:27

    I went to Rite-Aid today, so I got to use my anti-bac wipes! (Our local Rite-Aid is frequented by persons of, uh, questionable sanitary habits. They are so noticeably filthy that the store clerks have giant bottles of sanitizing hand wash by their cash registers.)


  7. David
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 23:59:40

    Ladies, you could buy every last antibacterial wipe, spray, and hand cleaner on the planet and the microbes would still have their way. One invisible microbe might kill me someday. Something will! Maybe a stinkin mad cow prion will make my brain turn into sponge. A prion isn’t even a frikkin microbe- it’s just a molecule!

    Some years back, a Cameroonian nursing student at the college where I work expressed disbelief at how we North Americans were always looking for health via pills, capsules, herbal infusions, or other magical means. I maintain the hope that health and wellness is a simpler matter than we are currently picturing it. And our food is a huge problem, since we mostly eat worthless, over-purified crap. Fruits, vegetables, and seasonal, locally produced foods are what we’re meant to consume. You cannot find that at Rite Aid.

    I love this little bit of Yankee wisdom: You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die. That peck of dirt will help your immune system to be stronger. But if your immune system has already been trashed, then please ignore everything I’ve just written. Happy New Year! 2008 Is Gonna Be Great!


  8. joanharvest
    Dec 30, 2007 @ 14:13:02

    There has been a lot of research done on various mushrooms for boosting your immune system. I take a product by New Chapter called Host Defense. It’s mushrooms in a capsule. Before I retired I took them every winter because I was always dealing with sick people, coming in the store and coughing and handing me their dirty money. I never got a cold. When I retired I stopped taking all my various vitamins and herbs because they were expensive and I couldn’t just grab a bottle off the shelf. 4 months later I’m in the hospital with pneumonia. Who’s to say I wouldn’t have gotten it anyway but I am not taking any chances. Expensive or not I take my mushrooms. I buy them at Vitacost.com.

    I probably get my peck of dirt from all my mushrooms. So maybe it’s not the mushrooms that are working but the dirt. You’re right about the food too. I cook every night for 4 adults and my daughter has me buy mostly organically grown unprocessed food. We even use chemical free cleaners and body care stuff. I did own a health food store but I am not a fanatic about it but there are some things I hold true. But then I turn around and eat a weight watcher’s frozen dinner for lunch with a list of ingredients so long and unpronounceable that I don’t even look at the ingredient list. It doesn’t say just potatoes, carrots, and chicken. But I cook the one good meal and my breakfast is good so I am a 70/30. I eat 70% good stuff and about 30% crap. I should really work on that ratio. Happy New Year! I agree 2008 will be great!


  9. David
    Dec 30, 2007 @ 22:33:26

    70/30 sounds pretty darn good to me! I’ve never been any kind of athlete, but having re-discovered bicycling in my late 40s, I rounded the five decade bend about 10 pounds lighter and with lower cholesterol. In the winter I pedal the bike to nowhere in front of the TV. The goal is to get sweaty and out of breath at least 4 times a week. I built up to it really really slowly. Like over 5 years. But I LOVE mushrooms too! What are these fungi?


  10. Wendy
    Dec 30, 2007 @ 23:39:22

    Joan – The mushrooms sound interesting. I’m a firm believer in natural immunity. Have I ever told you I was never immunized as a kid? My grandfather was a pharmacist and he really against injecting babies with stuff, so my mother never had us immunized. She had to fight the schools over it every year. But I’m going to look into the mushrooms. I’ve found plain yogurt has helped me stay healthy during the winter, knock on wood. When I eat plain yogurt every day I seem to stay healthy. Knock on wood.

    David – When we had a bicycle shop I was totally into hooking my bike up to a wind trainer in front of the TV. But it’s been years since I’ve done it and I somehow forgot all about that option. Until now. Thanks for reminding me. I gotta go see if we still have one of those. Wind trainers, not bikes. We have about a dozen bicycles, all of which I’m afraid to ride around the city.


  11. Barbara
    Dec 31, 2007 @ 14:42:46

    Wendy: I’ve been on a plain yogurt bender latelty–I love Stoneyfield Farm’s whole milk plain with cream on top. I add mandarin oranges and Familia cereal to it, then wreck the health benefits by adding a heaping teaspoon of sugar. But what the hell, it tastes good.

    By the way, I can’t stop thinking about Max and the used Band-aid. Good Christ, I would have gone nuts on the spot.


  12. joanharvest
    Dec 31, 2007 @ 17:22:24

    Shitake, cordyceps, reishi, and maitake mushrooms are all mushrooms that are good for your immune system. I swear by them. There are others too but these are the main four. I take them in a capsule form. I’d eat them fresh if I could find them. Sometimes you can find shitake mushrooms in the grocery store. They won;t get you high though. I’m not sure what kind of mushrooms Carlos Castaneda used to take to get high back in the sixties. All I know is I don’t need any hallucinations from my mushrooms, thank you. I hallucinate enough without them. I see things in the road at night when I’m driving that aren’t there. I think it’s just reflections off my glasses–hopefully.

    Sister B.-
    That’s the same kind of yogurt Obie eats. He doesn’t put in the sugar.


  13. joanharvest
    Dec 31, 2007 @ 17:27:49

    Oh David,
    If I didn’t have a broken ass, need two new knees and have a back problem, I’d be out there riding too. I’m getting good at my wheel chair though. It’s not electric and I’m getting some good muscles in my arms from all the Christmas shopping I did in it. Mostly though, I shop at stores that have the motorized carts. That mostly leaves me shopping at grocery stores and Walmart and I hate Walmart for many reasons.


  14. Franklin N. hanock
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 17:22:51

    Had it in May andr 2 weeks, in intensive care. They didn’t think I would make it. Came home and my wife nursed me back to reasonbly good health, after losing 20 lbs.

    Having the fears I hear expressed, is worse,for your mental outlook than the pnuemonia. Just wash your hands frequently, with anti bacterial soap and take a bottle of Purell hand sanitizer with you when your go out. Pulminary and physical Rehab is a must and not just short term. Need to keep it up forever. It’s the best thing you can do.I have several hours twice a week and it really makes a big difference. Eat wholesome meals and don’t over eat, just keep as trim as you can. See your doctor routinely, for followup ex-rays or CT scans, to track your lung condition. Good luck to all. Don’t drive yourself or your friends and family crazy, with the fear crap. It’s of no value.


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