Most of the time my hospice patients are in their own homes. Occasionally they're in a nursing home and rarely in a hospital, but most folks want to go home to die.
So, I've had occasion to go into other people's home frequently.
Let me interject this before I go any further: I am by no means the world's best housekeeper. My home isn't perfect - it's lived in, it's frequently untidy, occasionally messy, very rarely dirty and never gross and stomach turning. I'm not pretending to be perfect and I'm sure as hell not saying that my house always looks like something out of Better Homes and Gardens (it sometimes does. Rarely, but sometimes).
I have been in some beautiful homes, places where I've taken my shoes off before I stepped through the door and once inside, been afraid to move in case I disturbed something. I've been in some homes that are kept much like mine: things get done when they need doing but there isn't a 'must clean the bathroom EVERY DAY or else my world will simply fall apart' mentality behind the housekeeping methods. I've been in cluttered homes, places where you can't turn yourself around without knocking something over, let alone find the space to swing a cat, and I've been in grubby homes, places where the sink could use a scrub and the floors could have used swept, but they weren't really dirty.
I've also been in some dirty homes. DIRTY. Nasty. Places where I was afraid to accept anything to eat or to drink, even a soda still in the can.....where I was afraid to sit on the toilet because I was scared my butt would stick to it and even more afraid of what was on the seat that would CAUSE my arse to adhere to it. Homes that, when you walk in the door, you are nearly knocked backwards by the smell of urine (why do dirty houses always smell like pee, even if they don't have cats or dogs or other pets?) and rotting food, where you're attacked by fruit and house flies and other insects that have congregated - actually, I think that trapped is a far better word - therein.
I always consider myself fortunate to not get sick after visiting someone else's home who has questionable housekeeping standards. I try and take as much care as I can to protect myself - I'm not overly cautious, I just make sure I wash my hands or use hand sanitizer whilst I'm there and after I leave. I also try to find excuses to do a little housework ("Oh, Miss Irma, you look worn out! Why don't you sit right here and rest your bones a little while - I'll fetch you a glass of tea and take care of a little housework for you so you won't have to worry about it later. That way you can focus on being with your Louie and won't have those chores hanging over your head". It works most of the time) so that I'm leaving the place a little cleaner than I found it. Yes, I think I'm very lucky to not have come home with listeria or salmonella or common-or-garden food poisoning.
I think my good fortune may have run out, though.
Blech. (That's the sound of NinjaMedic hurling.)
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