I'm a bit of a germophobe and it's all very well to wash hands and sterilise your phone constantly but when germs are airborne one can only hold one's breath for so long.
This was me over the weekend after I found myself in the thick of the measles epidemic at a sports tournament in Takanini. The 13-year-old basketballer was heading down with the team Friday night and, after hearing of the outbreak, I phoned his doctor that day to check if he was immunised.
All three kids were up-to-date with their vaccinations but was I, asked the nurse. I couldn't imagine Mum being able to remember that far back if I couldn't remember my own kids being immunised but she seemed to think we'd had one, but maybe not the booster.
There was no time for this as I was heading down to Auckland with the twins the next day, plus it was a Saturday. I decided I would pack my Melbourne Hospital mask I'd kept as a memento after they'd isolated me – thought it might come in handy one day!
After putting the basketballer on the bus on Friday night, I received a message from Mum asking if the tournament was still on. Arriving home to the TV news about measles, I realised what she meant. Various sporting events in Takanini were being cancelled that weekend due to the outbreak and there were warnings not to go to Auckland.
But the kids would be all right, I decided, and I'd just wear my mask. Still, I felt a little uneasy.
However, such was the rush of packing, baking for the tournament and getting the twins to their final soccer game by 8am prior to leaving, the mask was forgotten and we arrived at a stadium that had far less people than last year.
Still kicking myself at forgetting the mask, I'd researched enough to know measles could be spread airborne so, as well as popping off to wash my hands on a semi-regular basis, I sat for the most part with my jumper pulled up to my eyes. This would look a little silly while walking to the bathroom behind a string of people but basically I'd be walking into their carbon dioxide and possible measles germs, hence the breath holding.
And then a fellow Whangārei mum walked towards me, smiled and said 'hi'.
"Hi,'' I spluttered, and then had to take a breath.
That was it, I was sure I had caught the measles. The Herald on Sunday didn't help either - the entire front page was just red dots! Yep, measles were everywhere.
By the time the basketballer returned home two days after us he was not feeling too flash and had some mild symptoms of what I had learned to look out for in the early stages of measles.
In my mind, it was possible he had a minor dose. I had missed my boy and wanted to keep hugging him but had to hold my breath. This was getting a bit ridiculous and I wondered if an immunised person could even be a carrier …
So, after further Google research, I learnt I was safe and a long exhale ensued.