Some of you are going to love me and thank me for writing this blog, and some of you are going to roll your eyes. If you roll your eyes, then this blog is written to you. If you thank me, this is probably written for you. The topic doesn’t get discussed often, because it’s an uncontrollable problem. This blog is not going to change the world. I’m hoping that maybe it will help a few people though.
It’s not religion. It’s not circumcision. It’s not vaccinations. It’s not breastfeeding. It’s nothing that even stirs volatile feelings of any kind really. At least not to most of us. But it’s something that some mothers think about every single day, like a monster lurking behind every corner… and with good reason.
Your child gets stick with the flu or strep throat. Maybe you just went to a chicken pox party even. It could be as simple as an unexplained fever. No big deal really. Right after going to the doctor to get your child checked out, you go to get your prescriptions filled, pick up some saltine crackers and popsicles. Your baby is still with you of course, because you don’t have a sitter and… well… it’s going to be a long couple of days caring for your sick little one and you don’t want to go back out later. Since your child is already run down, you use the little sanitizer wipes on the cart, then plop your sick baby in. You don’t want him catching something else on top of whatever this is, right? Especially with your nephew’s birthday party happening in a couple of days.
Consider this though…
What if your child was “run down,” every day? And what if those “couple of days caring for your sick little one” was weeks (or months) caring for your sick little one? And what if instead of missing the birthday party, you were worried about them missing an entire school year if they got sick, or worse?
All over our country, in every city, there are children with weakened immune systems. This could be from a disease like cancer or HIV. It could be from an organ transplant. It could be from any number of things.
I write this blog today to implore you to think about these families as you handle your sick children. If you wipe your cart down before putting your child in because he’s already fighting something off, won’t you please also wipe your cart down after? Will you please be thorough and diligent with hand washing when your child is sick? Will you consider going back out later without your child instead of taking him into the public contagious? If your child is sick one day, will you please not subject an entire birthday party of children to your child’s sickness by pumping him with Motrin and then calling him better? Motrin doesn’t take the germs away. Motrin just makes the germs less evident to the other moms at the party. A child on Mortin at a party is the equivalent of a sack of germs in the gift bags.
I was pretty upset when I found out my son’s dad took him out to lunch after he “started feeling better” from puking for two days with a fever. I was partly mad because he was already sick and should have been resting, and a whole lot mad because who knows who else he infected while being out in public. It got me to thinking about writing this blog.
I know the arguments. “Survival of the fittest.” Or “Those children with weakened immune systems should just stay home.” Those arguments are lacking compassion at best. At worst, I could go so far as to call them inhumane.
For one thing, there’s much more to children getting sick these days than strong genetics. And secondly…
What if it were your child? Would it still be survival of the fittest?
If it were your child, would you still say that they should stay home all the time? Mother’s with children with compromised immune systems must take calculated risks. They must still ensure socialization. And sometimes, like you, they may also have to run into the pharmacy for medication after a doctor’s visit.
Like I said, this blog isn’t going to be published and then magically, everyone will become enlightened and all of the children with weakened immune systems will be safe. That monster is eternally lurking behind every corner for these children’s mothers. This blog won’t change that. But if one time, one of you thinks about this and then keeps a sick child away from the public…. Well, that might be the one time that one child with the weakened immune system would have spent the summer in the hospital, but instead, spends it normal.
And that one normal summer for that one child is worth writing this blog.