Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blaming Germs

My Facebook feed has blown up the last little bit with people posting of their families' various illnesses.  It's just that time of year.  But in all honesty, is it not always "that time of year"?  It seems that we live in a world where illnesses are passed rapidly as we are more and more connected to people.  Please note: I know loads of you are selling, pushing, participating in things, medicines, treatments, healthy living changes that make illnesses less-likely to hit your family.  That's awesome... yet that's not the point of this post.

I'm writing this as my sweet 7-year-old is napping on the couch after beginning her bout with the stomach bug.  She said to me in that super sweet sick-kid voice this morning "At least I know what to expect.  I've thrown up before, so I know when I should get to the bathroom."  So true, sister.  (And I'm guessing she was thinking about what will happen if the Wee One gets it... not prepared to tell us when she needs to be sick.)

I've already gotten a text this morning from a friend I've spent time with recently who was worried she was the culprit for bringing us the germs.

I expect that more than one of my friends will assume that guilt at some point today... as loads of people I know have had this recently.

Which led me to think of the wise words my friend Leigh engrained in my mind years ago:  You can't blame (other people for giving you) germs.

We live in a well connected world.  We are a social family.  In fact, Tuesday night we spent the evening with 70+ people coming in and out of our home.  My prayer this morning is that 70+ people don't get this same illness.  But if they do?  I'm sorry.  That's all I can say... I'm sorry.

We are not going to live in a "bubble" where we exclude ourselves from activities because we are concerned that we'll get sick because "someone" might be.  

The exception to this, of course, comes from knowing that your child (or yourself) is sick and bringing them to events/school anyway.  I have little tolerance for people who knowingly bring sick kids somewhere... I know it's a pain to change your plans, find a sitter, whatever... but please, for the good of us all, if they need to be home, keep them home.  We're knee-deep now in deciding which of our weekend plans we'll need to revise because of today's illness.  It sucks, but it's what you do.

Within this "exception" comes my friends with medically fragile children.  Hearing stories of people who attend functions with these compromised children knowing they are ill makes me crazy.  My sweet friend Tamar (whose wee one, Leah, has leukemia) walked a beautifully fine line with this during Leah's treatments.  Having 2 school aged children in addition to Leah made living in a bubble not possible, unless she planned to keep everyone home, all the time.  And she didn't.  They lived life- still attending school, still coming to church, still going out in public- as they were able.  Leah's preschool director would alert Tamar when a bug was prominent in the school (which was great!) so Tamar could make an educated decision about whether or not to attend.  Brilliant.  Let it be up to the parents of the children whether or not to take the risk.  Yet I've heard loads of stories of other children in various treatments who arrive at activities where people show up with fevers and flus and not one nod is given toward how it will affect those immunocompromised children.  No excuse.

But in our case... today, and days in the future, we will take "our turn" at sickness and know that no one is to blame.  Germs happen.  And they will happen... as long as we continue to live our lives with other people.  We will not "blame" germs.

And I'm hoping that you won't, either... 'specially if E gets you all sick.

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