The Itchy Germaphobe Takes A Trip

This week I happen to be a few states away at a professional event thingy.  What this means is that I’m staying in a hotel in an unfamiliar city away from my creature comforts of nice things like my bathtub, my bed, and all my various skin implements and creams.  Don’t get me wrong, even though my skin looked good in the pictures the other day, I still have a lot of rituals and there are still parts of me that are nowhere near healed.  My arms, shoulders, and upper back this week have continued to be itchy and scabby, and develop occasional pimply bumps that hurt and ooze clear fluid when they are poked.  My chest also has some bumps and scabs but not as pronounced.  I tried to take photos of these things but they didn’t really turn out.  I do remember hearing in the newest ITSAN video the other day that people who used TS on their eyelids will have the rash spread to their upper chest, which is interesting since this is exactly what happened to me (and I HAD used a decent amount of TS on my eyelids).

I hadn’t taken any sort of overnight trip in quite some time, let alone a trip with going through TSW, so this stay is making me realize how different I may well be from the “normal” person, coupled with my neuroticism over germs in public places…..

…I walk into my assigned hotel for the week, toting my suitcase, my backpack, a tote bag of snacks, another tote bag of toiletries, and my pillow.  I look like I’m running away from home for good, rather than staying a few nights.  But you never can tell with TSW.  I have no idea how I’m going to look or feel or how my skin is going to hold up with the stresses of being away from home, so I have a bunch of different outfits packed to ensure that I always have a few comfortable choices to pick from every day. 

Am I staying here all by myself?  You bet I am.  Even with perfect skin, I wouldn’t want to spend the night in a hotel with anyone but an immediate family member or my ex-husband (when we were married, that is).  With TSW, staying alone is a necessity.  I couldn’t fathom having to explain to someone why exactly I need to sit and soak in the bathtub for so long to decompress, why I take forever to get ready in the morning, why the night is still spent obsessing and peering and picking and trying not to scratch at my skin.  I’m having trouble sleeping in this strange place anyway.  I’m not sure if it’s the TSW, the stress of being out of my element a little bit, or the palpable reminder that now I really am alone.  This hotel room has a peculiar resemblance to the last one I stayed in, but that time it was with my husband back when I assumed we were happily married and would always stay so.  So taking up an entire bed by myself isn’t an indulgent luxury, but an eerie, unsettling loneliness.

I have brought my own pillow and pillowcase from home, as well as my own washcloths and face towels.  I have no idea what kind of harsh detergent the hotel uses, and I’m not about to find out the hard way by rubbing their linens on my face and winding up with some potentially worsening rash.  I don’t go so far as to bring my own full bath towels for the body, nor do I bring my own bedsheets, but I have entertained the thought of doing so if it didn’t take up even more space in my luggage.

The first thing I do when I set my stuff down in the room is to take a disinfecting wipe and swab down all commonly touched surfaces that might be harboring germs, like the toilet flush handle, the door handles, and the TV remote.  (About a half hour after I have done this, I realize there are other surfaces I missed, like the sink handle and a few light switches.  I briefly feel panicked and grossed out that I might have missed some germs, but I try not to think about it).

Speaking of germ surfaces, I am immediately annoyed to find out that this hotel has valet parking, and not only do they WANT you to use it, you MUST use it so that they can file your car away in the proper spot per their hotel protocol.  I am extremely particular about my car.  I regularly wipe down the steering wheel, shifter, etc., with a disinfecting wipe so that it’s always clean.  No one else is allowed to drive it because I don’t know what they’ve touched.  I just wiped it down for this trip, and now some valet is going to put his grimy paws all over my clean steering wheel.  My mind gets flustered at this thought and I make a mental note to immediately wipe ALL the car’s surfaces down again as soon as I get it back. 

My germaphobe neuroticism really takes a hit when it’s time to get ready for bed in the hotel.  Even as a little girl, I remember my mother telling me never to take a bath in a hotel room, that it was more sanitary to take a shower (because in a shower, only your feet are in contact with the tub floor, rather than your entire lower half with a bath).  I freeze at considering this quandry – Do I take a shower, which probably won’t be as good for my skin, since I have always taken baths with TSW – (I even brought a plastic container with my Dead Sea Salts) – or do I take a bath, and mentally deal with the fact that my legs, butt and hoo-ha are planted on the tub floor where probably thousands of people’s skeezy feet were?  I am momentarily rattled by this choice, even though the tub looks very clean and I am sure they must do some sort of sanitizing between guests, but I eventually resolve to take a bath and just not think too hard about it.

Of course I have other “rules” when I stay in a hotel room, TSW or not.  Bare feet must never touch the floor, hands must always be washed after coming in from outside or touching some surface that might not be clean, like the outside door handle.  Elevator buttons must not be pressed with bare hands – I either use my knee or the corner of my shirt.  And now that I’m writing all this, I realize I never sanitized my actual room card, and God knows how many germs are lurking on that.

I usually itch and pick at my skin more when I’m away from home, and I’m never sure if it’s due to the actual environment, or because of getting stressed out about all these potential germs.  So yes, I sound like a neurotic nut that wants to live in a little sterile bubble, and I’m okay with that.  This post is written for amusement value more than emphasizing how much I think about other people’s germs on a daily basis.  But then, today in my hotel room, my fears about germs came true in a very gross way.

See, I understand when you leave a hotel room and go out and about for the day, that they might come in and make your bed or give you some new towels.  But this is the first hotel I’ve stayed in where they start rearranging all my toiletries in the bathroom and some of my other personal effects.  The first evening I discovered this, I was a little bit unsettled, but I figured okay, fine.  If anything weird happens, like some of my panties go missing, I’ll be alarmed, but alright, this is their job to tidy up, it’s just a little beyond what I’m accustomed to.

But THEN today………

I opened my tub of Vaseline and I am so disgusted I’m not sure what to do.  SOMEONE took their finger and SWIPED IT THROUGH MY VASELINE.   I KNOW this isn’t from me because I’ve never, ever been in the habit of digging my finger through Vaseline.  I delicately take a little bit off the top and don’t make a giant frigging track in the stuff.

But I don’t even know if I feel like complaining to the front desk.  It seems so ludicrous to haul a $3.00 tub of Vaseline down to the desk and make a stink about how someone violated it.

The bigger question is – if someone manhandled my Vaseline…. WHAT ELSE IN MY ROOM HAVE THEY TOUCHED?  I guess I’m done using Vaseline for the week.  I can’t wait to be back home in my OWN BED among my OWN BELONGINGS that no one else touches!   UGH!



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14 thoughts on “The Itchy Germaphobe Takes A Trip

  1. Amanda says:

    EWWWW WHO does that?!

    • I ended up making a sign the next day and put it on the sink saying “DO NOT TOUCH SINK OR CLEAN THE COUNTER. SOMEONE WAS USING MY FACE PRODUCTS. DO NOT TOUCH!!!!!” haha. But it worked, the following day nothing was touched!

  2. ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh SO gross! Not ok :-/

  3. hpesthetics says:

    Great post. I just did one on packing to travel.

    Just a note about bathing in the tub. If you are able to get a hold of 2 cups of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar you can fill the tub with water and dump the vinegar in and let it sit in the tub for an hour. It will kill pretty much everything. Then you can drain the tub and use your shampoo to wash down the tub with a wet wash cloth, rinse thuroughly and then take a bath. If you aren’t that much of a freak you can just dump 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in the tub with you. Soak for 30 min or longer and all the stuff exposed to your skin should be disinfected.


  4. hpesthetics says:

    I didn’t mean you are a freak, I meant it like in a funny way… I totally neurotic about germs from dealing with TSW


    • I did see your post about packing for travel! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on travel since it can be so challenging with TSW!

      That is a great suggestion about the vinegar, I never thought of that. We use it all the time at home to put in our laundry (in addition to detergent) to kill germs, so it’s like a “why didn’t I think of that” moment, haha. And I wasn’t offended at being called a germ freak (it is true, and I laugh about how ridiculous I get sometimes) 🙂

  5. Mie Ululani says:

    oh my WORDDDDDDDD that is too much! i shuddered violently when i read this post. as if being in a foreign environment with fresh new potential triggers is not enough (i used to think it never mattered if the hotel was five stars of two stars, there’s still crazy amounts of different everything to re-acclimate to). glad you’re back home now phew!

    • I KNOW! Thanks for sympathizing, it was just too weird and gross. I completely agree with you though that even if it’s the most magnificent hotel in the world, it isn’t “home”. I always admire those people that can travel the world out of a backpack and just make a temporary home wherever they can find – because there is no way I could ever do that!

  6. favoringfat says:

    We’re traveling this week with my boys and I definitely would have forgotten to take our own wash clothes and towels. Thanks for the reminder:) We get away with using the sheets because my son still wears long underwear and long sleeve shirts to bed, so the sheets don’t touch him too much. We do take his own pillow though. I love the idea of the vinegar for the bath tub (from previous response). We’ll be doing that also!

    • Glad that this helped remind you! SOOO many things to consider when traveling. I always make a huge list too, and double check it two or three times, since I always overpack and I always take a ton of toiletries. Hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip with your boys! 🙂

  7. OMG this made me shudder at the grossness! ICK! Also, I was totally laughing at the way you wrote about your germophobia! Wait, not AT you, WITH you. 🙂

    • Haha! Everyone is more than welcome to laugh WITH me and AT me…. I know I’m being ridiculous, and I’m okay with it 🙂 One of my classmates kept making fun of me because I would use the corner of my shirt to open every public door we would encounter… I don’t blame her, I guess it does look a little weird, LOL!

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