Associating something with a bad memory

Essential tool, but it brings bad reminders.
Essential tool, but it brings bad reminders.
This is weird.

I was playing doctor yesterday; doing a little wound care for Dad, and I got fully prepped up. Assemble tools. Thorough hand washing. A final touch-up with hand sanitizer.

Everything’s cool, right?

Yeah, until the hand sanitizer part.

Now, I don’t care much for the stuff anyway. There’s question about how effective it really is. It dries the skin. It gives the idea you can get away with a slipshod hand washing. But that’s nitpicking, so I continue using it.

Here’s the thing, though.

When I was taking care of Mom, I ran through that stuff like crazy. Every time I poked my head into the sick room, a few squirts on my hands. Just to make sure. Every time I did something constructive like wound care, changing her, dressing her, transferring her, more hand sanitizer. Made a lot of sense. She had the MRSA a few years, and ran through a series of infections that eventually killed her.

So I hit my hands up before taking care of Dad’s wound. Hand sanitizer has a distinct smell and feel, and I associated those with taking care of Mom in her final days. I associated those with death. A form of post-traumatic stress? Maybe.

Enough to make a guy want to give up the hand sanitizer habit.

Okay, I admit to being a little crazy. But still. There are a lot of issues that come with being a caregiver, and the mind makes associations that’ll probably last a while.

In the interest of good care, though, I’m still using the hand sanitizer even though I really don’t like it.


What say you? Any positive or negative associations that came from caregiving? Please share.