Things to be paranoid about part 2

Did you even know there was a part 1?

One of my friends from graduate school occasionally reminds me that the world is a very scary place.  Because it is.  I recently shared a hotel with her for a wedding and found out the following things.

Bed bugs are everywhere.  When finding a hotel it is important to check bedbugregistry to make sure that the hotel hasn’t had a problem with bedbugs.  Most hotels have.

This one we already knew:  Door handles are carriers for diseases.  Use a paper towel or kleenex that you then throw away anytime you have to touch one.  If you don’t have one, well, do your best with whatever cloth you have available that you’re unlikely to touch.  (After surviving the job market without a single illness using this advice, compared to the way I got sick every time I got on a plane before, I actually am a believer on this one.)

Glasses in hotel rooms… trust me, you don’t even want to know what she said about this.  In fact, I’ve blocked it out of my mind. LALALALALA.  Not thinking about it!

Your dryer can set your house on fire.  You should never leave them unattended.

MRSA … I may have to email her about this one…. Or maybe not because I probably blocked it out for a reason.

airborne mutant viruses on airplanes … I also seem to have mentally blocked this one…

Sitting down a lot.  It’s bad for you!  But we do it.

What things are you paranoid about?

40 Responses to “Things to be paranoid about part 2”

  1. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    I’m paranoid about hearing what I’m supposed to be very afraid of.

  2. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    My cousin and her husband own a bedbug sniffing dog. I forget what their company is called, but people hire them to bring the dog to their hotel or building to check for bedbugs. One year at Thanksgiving, my cousin hid a bedbug under someone’s chair (it was in a tiny glass tube) to demonstrate how the dog sniffs them out. Good times.

  3. bogart Says:

    I’m on top of the dryer thing (don’t leave it running unattended) which makes my DH think I’m paranoid — go figure (I also rarely use the dryer at all).


    Mostly, I’m just convinced that we tend grossly to underappreciate the role of irony as a causal force in the universe, and that it’s important never to underestimate its likelihood or impact.

  4. Ana Says:

    Ewww. I’m all squicked out now. YES the glasses in hotels; I read that same thing (that I’ve blanked out on the specifics of) and now hotel stays are the only time I justify the waste of bottled water (yes I could bring my own glasses, I’ve never remembered to do so). I don’t want to think enough about this to add to the list. I am going to turn my dryer off now, before I leave for work.

  5. omdg Says:

    Our dryer caught fire last year. Fortunately we were home at the time.

    We are similarly paranoid about coffee makers and the toaster. We unplug both when not in use. You should read the one star reviews on Amazon for pretty much every single coffee maker. Most of them are like, “This made great coffee until one day it caught on fire!” And re: the toaster: a childhood friend’s house burned down because of a short in her family’s toaster oven.

    At a house I lived in over a summer in college, the refrigerator shorted out and caught fire. I’m not so paranoid that I don’t run the refrigerator when I’m out of the house, but when it makes a new noise it freaks me out a little bit.

  6. Debbie M Says:

    When I think about what I’m really most paranoid about, it’s these:
    * forgetting to pay my bills and having to pay a late fee
    * not waking up on time to get to work (or wherever)
    * getting hit by a car (I practice defensive driving, walking, etc.)
    * getting too broken in my old age to be independent and to have enough fun
    * sending embarrassing typos in work e-mails (especially when I cut and paste from a similar e-mail)
    * forgetting that I’m cooking something (I now set timers even for stuff like boiling water where I don’t know what the real time is, when I insist on leaving the kitchen like I shouldn’t, but have now found little things to do while waiting that help me stay in the kitchen like work on Duolingo or my flash cards)
    * my city or country getting so horrible that even privileged me wants to move away (for example, my property taxes getting too expensive; my neighborhood acquiring an HOA; my city’s, state’s and country’s governments staying this horrible)–I’m always on the lookout for back-up places to live (still haven’t found any I like) and I sign a lot of petitions and vote.

    And I used to be paranoid about getting pregnant, but now I’m officially postmenopausal. Mwahaha!

    I should also be worried about how clothes washers can flood your house and about how you’re supposed to pour water down something related to the air conditioner and about how I’m supposed to water my foundation during droughts and about theft and rape and super scary germs. I also kind of want to get life insurance for my parents (each payable to the other).

    And yes, I’d forgotten about part I of things to be paranoid about, which I just now re-read, where I listed all different things.

    • chacha1 Says:

      I am definitely a paranoid driver. I’ve had just one accident since moving to Los Angeles in 1995, so I think paranoia works for me … I just proceed on the assumption that every other driver is an inattentive, panicky nitwit with a poorly-maintained car, bad reflexes, blurred vision, and hearing loss.

      I seriously drive with my thumb on the horn button, because EVERY SINGLE DAY someone proposes to run a stop sign or red light, or starts pulling out into oncoming traffic, or starts to drift into my lane, or (pedestrians) steps off the curb with their eyes on their frigging phone instead of on the street.

    • Mrs PoP Says:

      ha! I’m totally paranoid about getting pregnant. I would LOVE to be post menopausal and not have to worry if my period isn’t regular.

      I’m also paranoid about heaters. I won’t leave one on if I’m not in the house – I “saved” our dorm from burning down when I was an RA and an object left on a hot radiator by a resident had started smoldering and could have started a fire.

  7. becca Says:

    I am paranoid about heath things… like what is in the bottled water (PCB/chemically and microbiologically). Also, brain eating amoebas in Neti pots. Also, Listeria in Boars Head deli items. Also, excessive nitrites in celery juice (i.e. “natural” deli meats that don’t quantitate their nitrites). I am starting to be paranoid about food dyes now that my kid is eating them. I’m paranoid about taking antibiotics if I can’t find a yogurt with live cultures to help replenish my gut microflora. Also, second hand cigarette smoke. Lead in our drinking water, our walls, exhaust fumes… lead everywheres!!!!!
    Also, I am paranoid that there will always be fleas somewhere waiting to bite me (we have sometimes-outdoor cats).

    We should collectively be paranoid enough about MRSA to fund better hospital tests for it.

    Most disturbingly, I am paranoid I have the earliest stages of cognitive disease (like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s), because I study them right now and it’s like first-year-med-student-hypochondria-on-steroids.

    • omdg Says:

      Every patient at our hospital gets tested for MRSA. Not sure what the sensitivity and specificity are of the test though. Do you know? I’m actually quite curious now that you mention it.

      • becca Says:

        One of the many random things I’ve done is run PCR tests for MRSA genes.
        There is actually an insurance break that hospitals can get for testing for MRSA, so it’s in their own interest to test patients. I think they do usually use PCR based methods, that center on a particular gene that is directly involved in how the organisms deal with the methicillin (the mecA gene). Sensitivity and specificity of PCR tests are great, particularly if you are getting samples from everyone (e.g. a nasal swab) and then growing up the bacteria before testing (it can be easier to get false-negatives on tests that are using PCR directly on a sample collected from e.g. a wound without an isolation/outgrowth of bacteria step). That said, LOTS of people are colonized with MRSA, so simply testing patients for the presence of the organism is likely to just reveal that a lot of them come in with it.
        What is *not* in hospital’s best interest is to publish research on *genotyping* the MRSA that caused an outbreak with sufficient specificity to determine if there is a single source (i.e. if someone in the hospital is likely spreading it to everyone) or many sources (more likely if it’s coming in from the community from many people). It may also not be in the hospitals interest to test people that work at the hospital, but that’s one thing we should be doing. It’s not intrinsically hard to genotype the samples to exclude single origin (I was actually helping a [granted, brilliant] high school student with the project), but I don’t think most hospitals will do it.

        On the topic of the post- one more thing to worry about…

    • Rented life Says:

      Throwing out my netipot now

  8. Practical Parsimony Says:

    Since I had the dryer overheat to the point I had to use potholders and towels to pull it out and unplug it, I never run it when I am gone or asleep. Since I had the washing machine pour hundreds of gallons of water out and over my house, I keep an eye on it, too. Then, the oven thermostat broke and the house required firemen to determine if the wall behind the oven was burning, I am afraid now, but deservedly so. The stove, refrigerator, microwave, and freezer are the only things left plugged in. I do unplug all small appliances. But, I don’t call any of this paranoid. Even though my curling iron has an on/off switch, I still unplug it.

    When I went on a trip for a month, I flipped the breaker on the dryer, stove, and water heater. I even unplugged my alarm clock. Maybe that is paranoid, but my home burned when I was four from an electrical problem.

    I am paranoid about tire pressure in the car tires. I was deemed paranoid about water in the radiator when my service station guy had to check it three times a week to make me happy. Finally, he said that I was losing water, but he could not find a leak. Well, it was the water pump, so I suppose that is not paranoia. Still, I worry about tire pressure. Plus, I truly believe I have a wheel bearing going bad.

  9. Cloud Says:

    My parents picked up bed bugs at a hotel earlier this year and it was a gigantic PITA. Apparently, one thing you can do to reduce the risk of bringing them home is to spray the outside of your luggage w/DEET before your trip.

    I wouldn’t call it paranoia, really, but I do worry about the rise of antibiotic resistant infections. People are so cavalier with antibiotics, it makes me crazy.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Apparently bedbugs can stay alive for like a year without eating. So you can’t just leave your house for a couple of weeks. It sounds terrible.

      • Cloud Says:

        Yep. Involved extermination and a lot of heating things up. It was summer and they live in AZ, so “heating things up” mostly involved putting clothes in black trashbags in the sun.

  10. chacha1 Says:

    Generally speaking I don’t worry about things unless there is a very high probability that I am at risk. If I ever have to go into the hospital, I will worry about MRSA. I have no intention of ever getting the old-fashioned tube-up-the-bum colonoscopy (think about how hard it is to properly clean those tubes). If anyone ever says I have to get a radiocontrast agent for an imaging scan, I will insist on an allergy test beforehand. I will make a pest of myself, if necessary, insisting on minimal anesthesia, and if/when I get a hysterectomy I will be writing on my flanks with a Sharpie “ovaries stay.”

    • kt Says:

      Remember that fecal occult blood tests are as effective as colonoscopy, with fewer side effects! The downside is you won’t be paying a specialist big $$$$$$ and they will be sad!

      • Practical Parsimony Says:

        The fecal occult blood tests never caught the four polyps the doctor removed. Now, I go for another test sooner than others because of those findings. I wish that big black tube had not been there, the last thing I saw before I knew nothing. I did not want to have the colonoscopy, really, really did not.

  11. Rented life Says:

    Anything involving fire in the house or water. Don’t leave washer, dishwasher, dryer, etc. running when not home. I make sure we unplug all holiday lights too. I love candles but I’m picky about where they go.) I’ve always had a fear of the place hiring down when I’m not home and I always have an exit plan.

    Also afraid of break ins. Unlikely where we are now but still. And being hit by a car or bike (the latter happened once!). Food dyes. Being unemployed again.

  12. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Here’s an update from my friend who inspired the post:

    YES to your commenter who talks about not leaving your toaster or coffee pot plugged in while not in use. Did you know they can catch on fire even if they aren’t turned on?? My mother recently asked me whether I use the timer on my coffee pot (i.e., set it up the night before so that I have a nice pot of coffee brewing when the alarm goes off in the morning). My answer – absolutely not because if the coffee pot catches on fire (and yes, I have read all those Amazon reviews that say the coffee pot was great until it caught on fire) I would not be awake to put it out.

    And OMG, I would never never never use a Neti pot. Never.

    And I have always been paranoid about the air pressure in my tires (although I worry less about that now that I have a car with a sensor that tells me if a tire is low. Although it isn’t smart enough to tell me WHICH tire, and that is super-annoying).

    And I’m afraid of break-ins (which is why I have a security system). And early-onset Alzheimer’s. In fact, I think my three biggest fears in life are: something bad happening to my brain, my house burning down (especially with my kitties inside), and someone breaking into my house and leaving a door open so that the cats get out and get lost forever.

    And now I have to stop thinking about all these things because the world is indeed a scary, scary place.

    Oh but one final thought – apparently re-circulated air on planes is much cleaner than you would expect, because it gets sanitized. So you don’t need to worry about the air coming out of those jets above your head. You DO need to worry about all the people coughing and sneezing around you on airplanes and not covering their mouths/noses. And about the tray (bring an alcohol wipe and sanitize it) and the pillows and blankets (don’t use them).

    • becca Says:

      Early-onset AD runs in families, you either have the genetic predisposition or you don’t. Now *late* onset, that is the kind that a socially-complex and intellectually demanding job can help with. Also, getting sleep. mmmmmmmmmmm delicious sleep.

      I lived through the house catching on fire (albeit not all the way down). Gotta say- if you have smoke detectors so you all get out safe (even the old cat) and good insurance (so your stuff after the fire is actually nicer), it’s not the worst thing in the world.

      GPS chip the cat?

      This has been your paranoia-risk-management post for today ;-)

  13. amelie Says:

    I am paranoid about fire and water. Our coffee pot did catch fire – I had a fire extinguisher on the counter. See – paranoid is good. I left the house for one hour to go to the grocery store and the shut off valve on the toilet broke and caused 15K in damage. I now turn off all toilets if I leave the house longer than a day. And then the possible mold from the water damage…. Shudder.

    And lice. And bedbugs. And now I am itchy and am going to go shower in very hot water.

  14. Zambian Lady Says:

    I used to be very afraid of being mugged or having someone breaking into my house when I am at home. I am afraid of having to depend on others when I am older – I love my independence too much :)

  15. The frugal ecologist Says:

    My sister is all over these sorts of things. Paranoia/germaphobe is her jam. And I have a colleague whose wife will never sleep in a hotel for these reasons. She either stays with family or camps.

    For me, ignorance is bliss. And the few things I do know about I prefer to think of as strengthening my immune system!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      CAMPING? holy shizz there are so many bugs & crap outside that can give you horrible diseases. I’ll stay inside, away from ticks, thanks. And family, well, who knows how clean their houses *really* are… at least if my hotel room is icky there’s someone I can complain to.

  16. hush Says:

    Bedbugregistry = good to know!

    The freakiest, most paranoia-inducing thing to me is the simple, everyday act of riding in an automobile.

  17. Revanche Says:

    Well now it’s every damn thing in this post and these comments!

    Honestly I did have most of these paranoias though I call them healthy suspicions… I also don’t walk next to any vans with sliding doors, and will always find a store or some place to pull over on foot if a male is walking anywhere within arm’s reach of me when I’m alone.

    And now I’m going to unplug every possible appliance when we travel, geesh.

  18. Practical Parsimony Says:

    Oh, I will not get in my car if there is a van parked on the driver’s side. I go get a store manager or the security guard. Back in the 60s I saw a movie where a girl was snatched like that. And, showers terrify me.

  19. Rr Says:

    Why do u say one shouldn’t sit down a lot

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