What is more precious than a baby? My niece recently had a baby girl, and she is adorable. One thing that germophobes understand is that OCD is a snowball. When my niece was small, I held her and played with her as any doting aunt would. Things are different with my grandniece; I can’t easily do the same things with her twenty-some years later. When they visited during the winter months it wasn’t so bad because I would put on my cotton gloves to hold her. Now that summer is here, it seems silly to wear gloves, and I don’t want to offend my niece even though she knows about my OCD.
I enjoy the visits with my nieces, but without my cotton gloves, I have a feeling of dread during what should be a very pleasant time. I am dreading the aftermath, the cleanup. It is the standard “superwash” – alternating with alcohol and soap, gradually working my way up my arms each time. It gets really challenging when the point of contamination starts up fairly high on my arms. I have to use the alcohol and soap at least five times, and if the first round starts high, I have to be extremely careful to move up mere millimeters the next round. If I run out of space before reaching my underarms I might as well jump in the shower and get it over with.
But this is a baby girl. What on earth about such a sweet, little human being could compel me to do a superwash? She is crawling now, and I have documented my view of the floor – any floor. A floor is impossible to sanitize, in fact, it is teeming with germs. A crawling baby is, therefore, covered with floor germs. As much as I love her, this presents a huge problem. I hold her anyway and deal with it by using the superwash.
After reading the above, I am surely stating the obvious, but my OCD has affected my family relationships. My mother in particular has a hard time dealing with the reality that I cannot hug her. I have hugged her only a few times in the past few years despite the fact that she is quite ill and could really use a hug. One of those times was the day her mother died. OCD is harsh. The aversion to germs is overpowering and all-consuming.