Blinking lights and deadly bacteria

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Well, alrighty then. Looks like I didn't win the lottery. So I guess I'll have to buckle down and write yet another profound but cheeky blog post for this fine long-term care news magazine. Sure, I'm surprised. I felt really good about my chances. But I grew up in a church whose pioneers believed we'd all be taken to heaven on Oct. 22, 1844, so I'm used to Great Disappointment.

I'm not the only one who lost this week. Another loser was the antibacterial hand soap industry, which could have to start proving its products actually work, or at least do no harm to its millions of paranoid customers. Aren't you glad the government is thinking about making somebody else document something for a change?

According to the Washington Post, the proposed new regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration don't affect antibacterials used by hospitals or other medical facilities. So we in long-term care can go ahead and keep using them without feelings of worry and guilt that we're contributing to the rise of drug-resistant infections or hormonal disruption. Even though we quite possibly are.

In related news, earlier this week, in a pitiful quest to feel like family, my wife and I chose to eat at the Olive Garden restaurant. To avoid an inevitable melee over available tables, each group leader was handed a disk ringed by lights, and told to approach the podium when it started flashing. This seemed like a fool-proof strategy until I saw a mother hand hers to a runny-nosed child. A guy carry his into the bathroom. A baby put one in her mouth. Eventually, all these blinking, bacteria-laden orbs were returned unsanitized to the stack, to be given to someone else. It was a horrible, shiver-inducing sight, and made me long for the relative sterility of a nursing home handrail.

I've written about this topic before, and now realize that by doing so again, I'm irresponsibly contributing to the rise of fear-resistant thoughts and behavior-resistant actions. So I think I better just go stare at my losing lottery ticket. The one the convenience store worker touched. The one I scratched with the coin in my pocket, that I found in the street.

Sorry, FDA. I desperately need some anti-bacterial hand soap right about now. Possibly in a shot glass, with a wedge of lemon.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, who cobbles these pieces together from his secret lair somewhere near the scenic, wine-soaked hamlet of Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.


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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.