I recently wrote about my visit to see the optometrist and the cavalcade of events that resulted in an extremely distressing experience. In any sort of medical setting, there will most certainly be unpleasant physical contact involved, even with something as simple as an eye exam. I can testify that an appointment with a dentist is no better.
At my eye exam, I struggled the entire time that I was there, trying to prevent the situation from getting worse than it already was and desperately looking for ways to make it through the next phase. My anxiety level was off the charts. At the dentist’s office, my germophobe moment happened early on, and I surrendered shortly thereafter. What else could I do? As the assistant was taking x-rays before the dentist entered the room, she reached out with her hand and moved the chair that the dentist sits in by pushing the seat (the part that has contact with the posterior) with her bare hand. I did fight against the idea for a short time, thinking that it would be okay when she put on gloves before she had contact with me, but I knew that she would touch the outside of the gloves with her contaminated hands. There was no way out of this other than making a mad dash for the door, which I didn’t. So I gave in. I doubt that it lessened my anxiety much, but at least I didn’t have to sit there trying to figure a way out of it.
What made this worse than going to see the optometrist was, of course, that the contamination extended to my mouth. It can’t get much worse than that. And if touching the chair wasn’t bad enough, the assistant also bent over and scratched the calf of her leg. Is it possible that those pants did not brush against the toilet bowl earlier that day? Not likely. And before she left home, I suppose her cat or dog rubbed against them, too. As far as I was concerned, some of the vilest filth had been transmitted to my mouth. I couldn’t even keep my hands clean. The assistant asked me to hold an instrument for her while she tended to another task. I managed to keep two fingers clean for a short while, but then they, too, fell victim to the germs.
By the time I left, I was dirty from head to toe. The challenge of keeping the contamination contained began the minute I walked out of the door. I was grateful that there was a plastic baggie poking out of the top of my purse. I tugged it by the tip to pull it out, and turned it inside out so that I would have a clean surface to dig into my purse and fetch my key. Once I was able to get into the car, I had to open the trunk in the hope of finding a package of wet wipes that wasn’t buried under something else. To my relief, there was. Once in the car, I had to gingerly open the package without spreading germs from my fingers to the entire set of wipes. I needed them to remain pure so that I could get progressively cleaner, one wipe at a time. Out they came, and I went thoroughly over each hand, being careful to run them along all the sides of each finger. As both hands had been dirty, my purse handles had to be sprayed and wiped. By the time I was finished, there was a large pile of garbage on the car floor.
If ever there was an occasion for a super-shower this was it. My mouth received a super-cleaning also. I used so much mouthwash that my mouth felt like it was on fire and I was choking on the alcohol. My car required a super-cleaning, too. I had to spray down the seat and seatbelt eight times. But there is good news! After a reassuring conversation with a good friend, I was able to reduce the number of washings in my super-shower by two! This doesn’t seem like much, but since I recently had another episode where I nearly passed out from the heat, this is significant. Thank goodness for understanding and supportive friends.