A few weeks back, my husband complained that he was getting a cold. But you know husbands and colds, right? It’s like the end of world is fast approaching when a husband catches a cold. I gave a small amount of sympathy and pushed him and the kids out the door (it was Saturday, which is typically my alone time day).

That night before bed he took some medicine, but he woke up the next morning complaining. He was in need of throat lozenges. That might have been the first thing he croaked to me: “Do you have any throat drops?” Or something like that. 

I scrounged around and retrieved some, and long story short, he decided to go into urgent care. Yep, it was strep throat.

The unwelcome visitor

I knew it. I mean, it’s not like every single person in our family hasn’t had some form of strep (some multiple times) within the last year. I am kind of good at associating the symptoms with the cause at this point.

But guys, strep is my thing. Well, strep and feces. But strep and my OCD really ruined my December last year, so here I was, mid November, weaning off my medication, and my husband gets strep throat. Cue internal struggle. I wasn’t totally at the mercy of the OCD this time around, though. I have had my counseling sessions, my exposure response prevention training, my cognitive behavioral therapy. But now the time had come to put it all into action. The time had come to be uncomfortable but also do what a normal person would do. Sort of.

WWBD?

I took the kids to church. I washed my hands more or less appropriately. I used a separate towel in the bathroom. I quarantined my husband as much as possible. I sanitized where saliva may have possibly gotten. I had him change his tooth brush. Of course, maybe I also freaked out more than a normal person in some cases. I may have hastily “yelled” quietly at him to not help out with cleaning up the table, getting the kids their toothbrushes, or other things like that. I might have washed my hands in the shower after touching the communal body wash just in case. I may have not kissed the man for about a week after he starting taking antibiotics.

…and?

But you know what? We survived, and none of the rest of the family got strep. (Knock on wood). We even hosted my parents for Thanksgiving shortly thereafter, and they didn’t get sick. So I consider this a victory over something that had beaten me so badly last year. I mean, last year I had coats and shoes that I didn’t want to wear because they were possibly “strep” contaminated. I had to do exposures of wearing certain outfits or touching certain things. So this is progress. This is good. Sure, I still convince myself almost every day that I have a sore throat and worry for a few minutes or hours that maybe it is strep….but when I wake up the next morning and I’m not dying, I feel better about life.

Also, full disclosure: I did buy some strep tests on Amazon afterwards. I mean, it’s a good thing to have, right? Just in case? Hmm. Don’t worry, I haven’t used any yet.

How do you handle when previous triggers for your OCD pop up?

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