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Today I Drink To Emetophobia


Did you ever see those commercials, you know, the ones with the perfectly coiffed mother beaming a beatific smile at the camera as a couple of small kids play in the spotless white background? She’ll then reach for a bottle of some supposed anti-bacterial cleaner and lovingly spray the toys or the counter or Something Germarific and then the voiceover will make some comment about how this gently removes 99% of germs without subjecting the kids to horrible toxic chemicals.

I’m paraphrasing of course.

I’m also not That Person. You’d be more likely to catch me popping a rogue binkie in my mouth to clean it before inserting it back into the baby’s mouth. Or casually wiping up a spilled something with my sock rather than busting out The Big Guns. I regularly throw my kids outside to play in the mud and dirt. I don’t buy soap that’s guaranteed to kill 99.9% of germs and I only have hand sanitizer for those diaper blow outs that occur one after the other (God bless 2 in diapers).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of a little bleach and I’m not a consummate slob. I wash my hands after I pee, but I don’t use my foot to flush the toilet, nor do I insist on using a paper towel to open bathroom doors. Hell, nowadays, if you were to come over to my house, you probably wouldn’t even think it was remotely dirty. My kids take regular baths, my floors are washed twice a week, and I even occasionally pay someone to clean my dogs for me.

But even as a nurse and someone whose immune system is one toke away from being technically “compromised”, I’m not a-scared of germs.

Unless (there’s always an “unless,” right?), of course, rotavirus comes to play.

Then, you’re more likely to catch me running for the Lysol as I run away from the sick kid, my hand over my mouth and gloves up to my elbow. I bust out the bleach, spray down every surface available with the strongest germicide I can get without a prescription, all while wearing a rebreathing mask and vinyl gloves (latex allergy). I wash everything the sick kid could possibly have infected on the scorching hottest setting my washer can go on and wash my hands until they’re raw and red.

Oh yes, I admit it, I’m an emetophobic.

But there are some things that do confound my utter fear of vomitus that can sort of make my behavior mildly more acceptable. Sort of.

See, my eldest, the one with a stomach as weak as my own, he barfs in his sleep AND THEN GOES BACK TO SLEEP IN IT. He also, thanks in no part to his autism stuff, puts his hands in his mouth constantly. And, being 7, just goes about his life touching things, his vomity fingers touching all of the toys and stuff of his siblings.

(I’ve tried to teach him not to. It’s not going well and hasn’t been for, oh, I don’t know, 6 or so years?)

Also in my Court of Craziness is the fact that when I get felled by the stomach flu, I get FELLED. I mean, I’m sick as an ever-loving dog for days on end, hugging the porcelain god like it’s my job. This does not a good parent make.

So today, oh family Reoviridae, I drink to you. To the horror that you have inflicted upon my house and my sanity just in time to host an Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt that my eldest could not participate.

The one solace I find comfort in today is this: at least you made it over to Ben’s father’s house. The one who always begs off on the weekends when the kid is sick because he’s able to actually decide when sickness is convenient for him to deal with.

Must. Be. Nice.

Cheers to you, you wily double stranded RNA bastard. You’ve earned it. Happy Easter to you, sir. Happy Easter, indeed.


All right, Internet, let’s hear some of your weird phobias. I have several others that will make you go “dude, that bitch Aunt Becky is crazier than I thought!”

So Bring It ON, Internet.

40 Comments to

“Today I Drink To Emetophobia”

  1. On April 12th, 2009 at 1:43 pm heather Says:

    I had no idea the horror that is rotavirus until it landed the baby in the hospital, the boy in a pool of misery and loathing, and the husband incapacitated and highly annoying. And me? Well, I was left wielding the last can of Lysol and daring the wiley virus to step on anymore. So, yeah, I’ll share that phobia and raise you a couple more.

    But, hey! Nat’s sick! 🙂 That’s something.

    happy Easter, buddy.

  2. On April 12th, 2009 at 2:28 pm Ms. Moon Says:

    My phobias are more in the areas of hating-to-make-phone-calls, going-to-any-doctor-appointment, and, oh yes, leaving my house for very long.
    Dirt and germs- hell, I eat ’em for breakfast! Yeah! But make a phone call to make a doctor’s appointment? Oh. No.

  3. On April 12th, 2009 at 2:00 pm giggleblue Says:

    dermatophobia. so you can imagine how thrilled i was with my last little visit to the ER which subsequently got me readmitted to the hospital for the third time in three weeks.

    i swear, i ought to have hospital miles at that bitch. no wonder my rooms just kept on getting nicer…

  4. On April 12th, 2009 at 2:15 pm a Says:

    I, too, am against vomiting. I broke my 15 year no vomit streak last summer. Thank you, daycare! We also had something unpleasant this weekend, that I will officially be dubbing the weight loss virus. Because 3 days after you finish with the vomiting/diarrhea, you still feel nauseous if you consume more than 500 calories a day (um, that’s me…for my 2 year old, apparently almost 1 Pop-Tart is too large of a caloric intake). Happy Easter! How am I supposed to eat my weight in chocolate if it makes me nauseous???

    This was a weird virus – I was so dehydrated that the skin on my fingers shrivelled. And I was only at that stage of sick for about an hour – I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie!

  5. On April 12th, 2009 at 2:25 pm fidget Says:

    we have similar cleaning philosophies but barf and pink eye turn me into a Frau Lysol Slinger. Pink eye actually makes me even a little more neurotic b/c my eyes are so scarred from repeat pink eye infections that at one point it was a threat to my continued seeing.

  6. On April 12th, 2009 at 2:33 pm stacie Says:

    My big thing is Lice. I got lice repeatedly in elementary school and we couldn’t figure out why. Then we discovered that my “friend” kept infecting me because she washed her hair once a month–lice or no lice.


    So, any time anyone mentions that four letter word my head starts itching and doesn’t stop for hours. It freaks me out to no end about the possibilities of lice when the boys get old enough for school. (Thank God my mom watches them and there is not much of a possibility they’ll get them there. But…she did give them chickenpox, so I don’t know how safe I am!)

  7. On April 12th, 2009 at 4:22 pm Elaine at Lipstickdaily Says:

    I can handle any kind of bodily excretion, sickness, serious illness, surgery, major disaster, pestilence, crisis . . . I am totally calm in any kind of Major Event . . . . BUT don’t put me in a small place, or in a Disney infused crowd. The ONLY TIME I ever had a panic attack was on a Disney cruise. True story.

  8. On April 12th, 2009 at 3:27 pm honeywine Says:

    Rodents & spiders of any variety make me scream involuntarily like I’m a teen drama queen sitting in a 1950’s movie theater as the Blob comes at me. Other than that, I usually just suck it up and deal. I’ve grabbed more poop with my hands in the past 2 years than any human should in a lifetime. Unfortunately, none of it was my own. Ick…

  9. On April 12th, 2009 at 4:09 pm DD Says:

    The microwave. I won’t stand in front of it when it’s running. I hate even being in the same room.

    As you already know, I don’t use my foot either to flush as that’s just juvenile, but I do use a paper towel to open the bathroom door….because I just KNOW the person in front of me didn’t wash and flushed the toilet with their hand after the person before THEM used their nasty foot that just went through the puddle of pee to flush the toilet.

  10. On April 12th, 2009 at 5:42 pm SciFi Dad Says:

    I’m afraid ferrets will lead an army of lemmings to attack me.

  11. On April 12th, 2009 at 4:53 pm Kendra Says:

    I’m really not a germophobe. I have three little kids and cannot believe the things that I put up with from them. I remember when the horrible stomach flu went through our house this fall; my 3-year-old, who had been feeling just fine until that very moment, crawled up on my lap and started crying. And before I could ask what was wrong, he vomited all over me, him, the chair, the floor. And as I sat there in a giant puddle of vomit, I just kept saying over and over, “It’s okay. I know, it’s okay.” Later I realized that I am now totally a mom, to be reassuring the one who vomited on me rather than complaining.

    I am, however, pretty scared of people. I have not been to the dentist in over a year, because I am scared to make the appointment, scared that they’re going to yell at me when I get there, and scared that I’ll have a cavity and have to go back. I realize that makes me about 5 years old, but I can’t help it. I tend to think that things like “social anxiety” are over-diagnosed, but I will say that I thank god for the internet and its stress-free interactions.

  12. On April 12th, 2009 at 4:55 pm amy Says:

    Poor Ben…hope you’re better soon buddy!

    Oh God…huge cockroaches!!! I am petrified! I don’t know if other parts of the country inhabit such lovely insects, but in South La. they are EVERYWHERE and they fly! When I see one I immediately gasp as if someone is trying to murder me and I usually break out into hysterics…crying, shaking, hyperventilating….and that’s just when I see a dead one.

    Oh..and I’m also claustrophobic. Elaine, I too, had a meltdown on a cruise! The hubby just kept feeding me drinks till the end just to get me through it. I will never do another cruise as long as I live!

  13. On April 12th, 2009 at 5:00 pm Stacey Says:

    My phobia would be the dentist. even when I am not the one in the chair I can’t be in the room without forcing myself not to either flee or start crying in fright. It’s pathetic reallly. DH has to take the boys to get their teeth cleaned because I don’t want them to think dentists are scary places, but I can’t pull myself together enough to go with them.

  14. On April 12th, 2009 at 5:18 pm The Mommy Says:

    Bridges. I’m afraid of bridges. My friends used to driver very.slowly. across them just to see if I could hold my breath that long (that’s my way of “coping”). I lived/worked in Pittsburgh – the city of bridges – for a number of years and that helped, I guess, but still. I hate ’em.

  15. On April 12th, 2009 at 6:53 pm BB Says:

    I am also a total emitophobe, though, I admit I am much better than I used to be. As long as I don’t actually watch my kids get sick, I am good. So far, my husband is the only one to have the stomach flu this year, make that twice. The best part was the first time he had it this year was when he was driving home from work in his 6 day old brand new car! Of course, he couldn’t manage to get the window open in time.

    On another note, I saw your twitter post about Alex and the kitchen fire, and my youngest, who was also 2 at the time, almost set the kitchen on fire 3 times in one month by sticking things in the microwave. It was the middle of winter on a below zero night, and we had every window and door open so we could air out the house. Fun times!

    Happy Easter! Hope Ben gets better soon, and the rest of you stay well.

  16. On April 12th, 2009 at 6:30 pm Cathy Says:

    I hate rotavirus. Vomit, in a general sense, doesn’t phase me anymore though.

    Bugs get me. Phones. Dentists.

    But most of all …

    EYES. I can’t stand people to talk about eye problems, eye doctors, touching the eyes, and let’s not even DISCUSS contact lenses because .. oh wait there I am, shuddering. Ugh. Eyes.

  17. On April 12th, 2009 at 6:32 pm Chris Says:

    When I go food shopping, I ABSOLUTELY refuse to touch the packages of meat with my bare hands. I’m totally convinced that the meat juices are swarming all over the outside of those packages (see…I’m just as loony as you all are!). I get those thin plastic bags from the fruit/veggie department and stick my hand inside one….then I grab for the meat and pull the bag over it. I use a new bag for each package of meat.

    Also, I won’t allow anyone to look at my photos until they are safely ensconced in a photo album. I can’t STAND when my photos have fingerprints on them.

  18. On April 12th, 2009 at 7:54 pm Eva Says:

    Hair brushes in the kitchen. Hair in food.

  19. On April 12th, 2009 at 7:00 pm Holli Says:

    Broken bones or teeth. When I was 17 my brother nearly decapitated himself by falling through a plate glass window (seriously). All the blood and guts didn’t bother me. But, when I saw my mother-in-law break her hip I almost fainted. I don’t know what it is about broken bones but they make me feel sick. Same thing for teeth. Loose teeth make me gag. That is a phobia my son especially enjoys. He taunts me with his loose teeth. He thinks it’s funny.

  20. On April 12th, 2009 at 8:37 pm Tanya Says:

    Not necessarily a phobia but I can’t stand my hands being dirty.

    Yes, I open the bathroom door with the paper towel (or the tail of my shirt in a pinch) because other people don’t wash. I don’t foot flush because I wash after I pee. And I don’t use towels in other peoples house.

    Mornings go something like this:
    get up pee, wash
    let the dog out/in, feed dog, wash
    brush teeth, wash
    change baby’s diaper/dress baby, wash…

    I think it’s about 8 times between when I get up at 5:45 and when I leave the house at 6:50. Strangely enough, it slows down after that point.

  21. On April 12th, 2009 at 7:44 pm Mrs Soup Says:

    Spiders, but that is not odd. The odd phobia I have is I can’t stand riding on anything that does not have a solid base. Like ski lifts and those gondolas that go up mountains. Needless to say, I will not ever go downhill skiing.

  22. On April 12th, 2009 at 9:48 pm Painted Maypole Says:

    i can’t get past the fact that you manage to wash your floors twice a week

  23. On April 13th, 2009 at 6:45 am Michelle Says:

    I no longer have any phobias about vomit or poop, as I am the one who, 99.9% of the time cleans up all of these messes in the house. I do though, have a phobia about bugs on the ceiling above me. I can handle them on the floor, but if one is up there, I fear it will fall on my face!
    I have more weird OCD things, than phobias!
    Hope Ben gets better soon!

  24. On April 13th, 2009 at 7:16 am birdpress Says:

    I think my phobias are all normal… Heights, bugs, robots. I’ve been fortunate to have not vomited since I quit drinking over two years ago, although this post probably jinxed me. I hope you are able to continue to avoid this “rotavirus” about which I am blissfully ignorant.

  25. On April 13th, 2009 at 7:44 am Kristine Says:

    My weirdest phobia of all is microwaving something for more than 5 minutes. I can do 2 rounds of 4 minutes, but nothing over 5 minutes straight.

    I’m also not a germaphobe. Until someone gets sick, and then i don’t want it, thank you very much, I will be over here washing my hands 14 times a day.

  26. On April 13th, 2009 at 8:19 am TwoBusy Says:

    I would say giant hairy spiders, except that there’s nothing weird about it — hating, fearing and praying for the extinction of all giant hairy spiders everywhere is about as well-adjusted as you can get.

    (That being said: hope yr son feels better soon. Poor guy.)

  27. On April 13th, 2009 at 9:40 am zelzee Says:

    Germs really creep me out!

    I am far from being awarded “housekeeper of the year”, but in public, I can’t stand to touch anything……..

    Watched that movie about Howard Hughes, and asked my (then husband) if I was like that……..he replied “not yet”.

  28. On April 13th, 2009 at 11:31 am Susan Says:

    If I can nurse a 45 year old man through Rotavirus, I can pretty well handle any of that vomity, diarrhea, kind of stuff. But wiggle a loose tooth at me and I will die.

    I,too, am completely taken aback that your floors get washed twice a week. Wll you marry me?

  29. On April 13th, 2009 at 10:54 am Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy Says:

    Dude, I share your Emetophobia. Severely. So much so I can’t even go into it. So don’t feel bad.

  30. On April 13th, 2009 at 10:56 am Coco Says:

    Cockroaches are the biggest one. Which was only worsened when I found that tiny one in my ear last year. I guess it’s not all that odd a phobia, but what is odd is that I would actually starve myself before I would eat a bug, and yet in most of the rest of the world, they eat ’em up like candy. If I was married to Andrew Zimmern he would never be able to get near my mouth because I would think about all the nasty bugs he’s eaten constantly. I might even barf in his mouth. I don’t think it would bother him, though.

    The other one is talking on the phone. I seriously shake and stammer with just about anyone but my mom or my husband, even if I LOVE that person. I always feel like htey have so many better things to do than talk to me.

  31. On April 13th, 2009 at 11:07 am mumma boo Says:

    Oh, ick – I hope Ben feels better soon and that it stays the heck away from the rest of you! (except for Nat. He can get it.) As for me – loose teeth, manicures, and pedicures are guaranteed to make me squeal and run in the other direction.

  32. On April 13th, 2009 at 11:45 am lady lemon Says:

    I have phobias that make so little sense even I can not always comprehend them. I too fear the VOMIT, though after years of heavy drinking with friends, my fear has lessened from the terror it once was. I fear checking the mail and voicemail (not email though) – afraid of some bad news on some level I suppose. I will avoid it for weeks on end.

    I fear forms and paper work. I fear deadlines. I fear deadlines for paperwork like woah.

  33. On April 13th, 2009 at 12:09 pm lady lemon Says:

    Also, I just have to express my surprise at how many people are afriad of loose teeth. Seems odd, but who am I to judge? At least I have been spared of that particular horror. For now.

  34. On April 13th, 2009 at 6:14 pm Sarah Says:

    I woke up dreaming about that scene in Trainspotting where the s.hit literally flew everywhere… that is how I knew for sure both my kids had filled their pants in their sleep – added bonus – they both had rotavirus.. because the smell… it did not go away when I woke up. That was, happily, about 4.5 years ago.

    Weird phobias… mucus. Maybe not mere mucus, but saliva/snot mucus action combo deals, in particular. Not so much with my kids, but to hear or see someone rear back and hawk a serious loogie (lugey? wth?) will cause me to involuntarily gag. That was awesome, being surrounded by a bunch of Sailors… also fabulous while watching that movie about the really big boat and Leo and Kate.

  35. On April 13th, 2009 at 7:13 pm Betts Says:

    I’m with you with the vomit thing, but I also have a tick phobia. The bad infestations are further south than we are, and I don’t mind finding the occasional tick or two on our dog. We went to visit relatives in Massachusetts once and our dog came home covered with them. I was so freaked out thinking they were going to mass evacuate from the dog in the middle of the night and come after me. It the middle of summer, but I went to bed in long pajamas and socks and…. wait for it…. rubber bands around my sleeve and leg cuffs. I’m not so freaked out by other blood sucking bugs; they bite, suck and go, but tick stick around and visibly grow. I’ve got the heebie-jeebies just writing about them.

  36. On April 13th, 2009 at 10:49 pm Lola Says:

    Lice! If my kid ever brings lice into this house, I’m moving all by myself or I’ll just have to burn the damn house down.

  37. On April 14th, 2009 at 1:21 am baseballmom Says:

    touching raw chicken. also, anyone brushing their teeth or flossing or whatever, even my kids, makes me gag and want to barf. i can’t even watch it on tv commercials!

  38. On April 14th, 2009 at 7:31 pm mandy Says:

    That may very well be the next official commercial! I wish I could somehow nominate you for it. I am trying to imagine how the little voicey chorusy thing would go in the background.

  39. On April 15th, 2009 at 12:23 pm charmedgirl Says:

    i don’t know if i would call it a phobia, but i hate…HATE…(besides panties and socks) TONGUES. i mean, i LIKE tongues, but i HATE SEEING THEM. like that nasty yackish tongue flicker that guys do. and now, thanks to the rock of chlamydia shows that bret does, i now even shudder at HIM…that nasty tongue!! jesus christ!!

    now, for my fav puke story. about 2 years ago, i drank a large bottle of red wine with the neighbor who snooped out my blog recently. she puked her bed and her husband while asleep, which was funny to me, but i had to change THREE SHITTY ASSES that morning. and their shits used to be HORRIBLE…DAMN MY HEALTHY FEEDING HABITS!! i got through one…two…then during the third, i totally hurled INTO THE SHIT BAG, face-first into rotten beef stew smelling shit. then my eye caught sight of the other two little ones, crouching, heads tilted, wide-eyed, STARING at me from about 12 inches away. that moment was really, really funny…and i guess should have made me feel ashamed, but i totally didn’t!! HA!

  40. On April 17th, 2009 at 8:23 am bri Says:

    I have severe selachophobia. Fear of sharks. I can barely go in a swimming pool. Don’t try to make that make sense.

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