Don't Let A Dirty House Kill You

The other day a friend dropped by unexpectedly, and instead of being happy to see her, I started worrying about the state of my house. Dog blankets were spread over the chairs, the coffee table was dusty and piled high with papers, books, and electronic toys. I hadn't vacuumed in almost two weeks. I steered her to the sofa (the only clean place to sit) and whipped a blanket off the dog's favorite chair for me to sit in, breathing a sigh of relief that I had cleaned the bathroom the day before.

Isn't it silly to let housekeeping (or the lack of) spoil a visit with a friend?

Well, it's even sillier to let housekeeping concerns kill you.

That's right. In a recent study, only half of the women surveyed said they would call 911 if they were having heart attack symptoms. Why? Because they wouldn't want the paramedics to see their messy house.


Unfortunately, I can almost relate to this irrationality. After all, I'm a member of  the generation who grew up with the "Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday..." routine and my mother was pretty religious about keeping her house spic and span at all times. In the 1950's and 1960's, a lot more entertaining was done at home than is now, and people were likely to pop over at any time for a cup of coffee. There was always something fresh baked in our house, just in case a friend stopped by. The wood surfaces always gleamed, the carpets were always vacuumed, and fresh towels were always at hand in the powder room.

Although I'm not even close to maintaining my mother's high standards for housekeeping, I'm not above wishing I were. I'd like to have at least one picture perfect room I could usher my guests into, should they happen to pay an unexpected call.

It could also come in handy should I have a heart attack and need to call the paramedics.

Heaven forbid they should find me lying in a puddle of dust.

*February is Heart Health month, and you may not be aware that heart disease is the Number One leading cause of death among women. Many women don't recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, as women's heart ailments don't always present themselves in the same way as men's. The Go Red For Women website is a great place to educate yourself about heart health and the symptoms of heart attack. Above all, if you have chest pain, cold sweats, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, or upper body pain, call 911 immediately, no matter what condition your living room is in!