I know you’ve heard it a million times. I know you’re probably tired of hearing it; the many moms pleading with you to stay home when you’re sick. But believe it or not this very simple concept seems to fall on deaf ears over and over again. For some reason people are not understanding why they need to stay home for a measly cold. They continue to claim they’re “fine.” Their child with the runny nose and slight cough, is “fine.” It’s “nothing.” It’s “just a cold.” Well I’m here to tell you it’s NEVER just a cold. A cold to you can be FATAL to someone else. And I’m not exaggerating.
I myself know I’ve gone out sick before. Wrote things off as “just a cold” plenty of times. And it kills me to think about those times knowing what I do now. “Just a cold” has landed Madison in the hospital 3x already. It’s put her in the PICU. It’s required her to be on high settings of oxygen so that she could breathe. It’s caused seizures. It’s filled my heart with an absolutely overwhelming fear as I sit not knowing whether she’ll be able to pull through. And these moments have happened because she came down with the common cold. Nothing more.
That’s what “just a cold” does to kids with complex medical needs or compromised immune systems. It can kill them. That cold that seems like a slight inconvenience to you. The cold that has you popping cough drops and reaching for the tissues more than usual, can literally be the thing that takes another’s life.
And can you even imagine what would happen to these kids if God forbid they caught the flu, or the measles, or something more serious? Its the reason so many of us are forced to stay quarantined all winter long. We can’t trust that others will make safe decisions. We don’t know who has been vaccinated. We don’t know who has been sick. And our children’s lives are at risk if they come into contact with these germs. And because we can’t trust others to just stay home when they’re ill, we have to lock ourselves away until cold and flu season is over. We have to cancel outpatient therapies that are crucial to our child’s development and quality of life because other people think it’s okay to bring their sick children there. We push out doctor appointments that are important but not life or death, until spring when there will likely be less germs lingering around the office. And it’s not only Madison I worry about. I worry about myself catching these germs too. Because if I’m sick, there’s a good chance Madison will be too.
I know it’s hard to stay home. Like I said, I find myself stuck home for MONTHS because I’m too scared to take Madison anywhere. And it sucks. But staying home when you’re sick and keeping your children home when they’re sick is a life saving protocol. We’re not being dramatic when we plead with you to stay in. We’re not trying to make your life harder. We’re asking for the simple courtesy of helping us to keep our children healthy and alive. And if there is truly a reason you can’t stay home, sanitize, wash your hands, and wear a mask and gloves. Do any and everything in your power to limit the spread of your germs. And please remember that just because you’re feeling better, doesn’t mean you are. Most viruses still shed a few days after symptoms might be gone. Use caution. It’s not only beneficial to the greater good of the public, but to yourself or loved one. Taking the time to rest after a virus is just as important as resting during it. Let your body or your child heal completely.
Please stop thinking about the inconvenience of your illness. Stop thinking it’s cool to just toughen it out. I wish colds were just an inconvenience in my home, but they’re not. They’re long hospital stays and oxygen and fear. They’re something I’ve seen take the lives of other children in the special needs community. Children who were fine one minute and then had their health completely spiral out of control because of a respiratory infection or stomach virus. We are in this together. All of us. Stop being selfish and for the love of God, just stay home when you’re sick! “It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to keep the vulnerable ones alive.” -Sandra of Our Daily Adventures
See ya in the spring!