I'm Addicted to Hand Washing

Jeanne Sager
2


Flickr photo by AlishaV
I wash my hands when I walk in from outside. I wash them before dinner. After dinner. I wash them at a commercial break.

I wash them, wash them, like I'm living in a Dr. Seuss story. Does this mean I'm an addict?

If it does, I blame my mother. And not just because that's a daughter prerogative (and one my own offspring is fast cottoning onto).

A nurse practitioner, hand washing is as instinctive to her as locking the doors is to someone who lives in a bad neighborhood. She washes between patients. She washes before the trip to the grocery store, after the trip to the grocery store.

She's branded me a freak -- the type who doesn't touch anything in a public bathroom lest I pick up germs. I use my foot to flush, head straight for the paper towel dispenser, use towels to turn on the water, new towels to turn it off, towels to open the door, then practice my three-point shot from the doorway.

The restrooms with the hot air dryers are the bane of my existence. No paper towels to protect me from the ick.

So what brought on this confession? Pink eye. No, not me -- after all, I wash my hands and have the chapped skin to prove it.

My daughter came down with a raging case of oozy eyes a week and a half ago, and I was mystified. In all my years on this earth, I'd never had pink eye. How could this have happened to my kid? Nurse Practitioner Mom, naturally, had the answer. I wash my hands, have always washed my hands.

And apparently, um, my kid isn't so good at it. Which means back to the sink for me -- and her -- for a little practice. Is it wrong to say I'm loving it?

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