Saturday, March 22, 2008

Super Nasty

Something that I’ve gotten used to is the idea that hospital’s are gross. People believe that they get the best care and won’t get sick there, but often they end up with more virulent strains of bacteria and other fun pathogens than are out there in the world if they stay for more than a couple days. Patients want to stay, we want them out – before they catch a hospital acquired anything and Medicare refuses to treat an inevitability.

I’ve also realized just how dirty the white coats, scrubs, and other materials healthcare workers wear or use regularly can get. Therefore, my indignation and abhorrence at the following situation has nothing to do with me being a pompous, self-righteous, gym freak, but more from an appreciation of the nastiness being spread.

I ran into a guy in hospital scrubs the other night who looked every bit a male nurse. He was sweating over everything, through the scrubs, and onto the benches, chairs, etc. I hoped that 45 minutes of cardio would be sufficiently long enough for me to not have to associate with him and his profuse secretions. Unfortunately a comely female joined him 30 minutes into my workout and they proceeded to regale each other with stories from the hospital. Evidently they work in the same hospital, if not the same unit, and were bullshitting while they went through perfunctory maneuvers. During this time I learned he'd worked earlier that day.

After finishing my cardio, wiping off my own sweaty brow, I proceeded to the bench and performed some dumbbell chest exercises. I draped a towel over the bench in order to catch my perspiration and avoid contaminating myself from anyone else (like disgusting Bob over there).

Halfway through I got a drink and watched, to my absolute horror, as the sweaty male nurse, still perspiring profusely, got on the bench and proceeded to do some work – while my towel remained! I waited for him to conclude and let him know the proper etiquette for gyms. I then told him about the obscene display he was creating working out with his scrubs and most likely the transfer of serious bacteria throughout the room. He was offended, told me to chill, and received another tongue lashing from me regarding the erroneous impression he had about his behavior. These are, I reminded him, the very conditions needed for MRSA and other infections to be acquired - humid environment with physical activity and potential skin breakage.

Had I not been keen to the notion of transmitting disease pathogens from clothing I might have just asked him to not use the bench when I was still clearly in possession. However, I can’t get past the purely abhorrent nature of what he did. To further let him know just how upset about the situation I was I threw the towel in the trash.


Anonymous said...

LOL! Funny, yet so true. I only wish I was there to witness the incident. Kudos to your for protecting our health!

Old MD Girl said...

Wow. How revolting.

Doc's Girl said...


Yeah, I wash the bf's scrubs in a separate load because it just grosses me out how many germs could be on them.

This is funny for me to say because I'm not one of those people who is paranoid about germs...but scrubs are on the front line! :-P

Jill said...

And yet, when health care workers have staph aureus infections--even ones who work in the ER and encounter MRSA all the time--they get MSSA, not MRSA. It's amazing the difference that showering regularly and wearing clean clothes can make. MRSA may be resistant to lots of antibiotics, but it's no match for plain soap and water. So I wouldn't worry about washing hospital scrubs with other laundry. Plus there's been a study that shows home laundered scrubs are just as clean and disinfected as hospital-laundered scrubs.

M said...

Anyone who thinks hospitals are sterile needs to pull their ignorant head out of the clouds.

That's honestly one of the most repulsive things I've ever read. Well done for telling him off. I'd have done the same thing.

It's the minority which always goes out and stuffs everything up.

Liz said...

that's freekin disgusting!!! ewww good job telling him off.