Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sharing is Caring

I love to share.  What's better than sharing a hug with someone, sharing dessert, or sharing dreams over coffee?

Think of all the things you share with the world during the course of your day.  Now, think of everyone who shares something or themselves with you: laughter, a story, a pencil.  You probably encounter many different people and environments throughout your day. Each one is filled to the brim with "sharing," but have you ever thought about the dangers of sharing?

Danger of Sharing
For those of you who know me, I keep the hand sanitizer companies in business.  Hand sanitizer bottles adorn every room in my house and have a home in every bag I own.  Because my immune system is compromised due to CF, I have to be very attentive to the "sharing" of germs and the potential looming infection that can be caused from coming into contact with them.  The common cold can wreak havoc on the respiratory system of someone with CF, and the flu can be deadly.  Viruses, bacteria, and mold are the main sources of respiratory infection and complications.  Infected respiratory droplets can travel up to 6 ft from just talking, sneezing, or coughing.  Germs can then live for hours on a given surface: a coffee cup, a door handle, piano keys, etc.

All Germs Are Not Created Equal
Germs that do not harm you may still pose a great threat to me.  The thick mucus in my lungs caused by CF is a perfect place for germs to find a home and thrive.  Germs that may not affect you at all may very well put a PICC line in my arm and cause months of IV antibiotics.  5% of lung function lost may not seem like a lot from just a "cold," but when you don't have much to begin with, 5% is enormous. Not to mention, it is incredibly hard to gain back.

Living Life
What do I do? Live in a bubble with my hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfecting wipes?  No! There's too much life to live for that!  I just live very attentively to the presence of harmful germs and the potential for infection.  I have become very aware of the type of room I am in, how many people I am with, if they're sick, the air circulation in the room, and the surfaces that I have touched.  Sometimes it almost makes me crazy, but I know it's to keep me alive.

I care about you all so dearly and love to share my life with each of you, I just don't want to share that cold.  Instead, let's make a date and share our dreams for the future: I would truly love nothing more.  Don't worry, I'll bring the hand sanitizer!  Love to you all.

What will you share with the world today?

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