Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Second close-up of pictureIt might be the sick child who lets loose a massive sneeze, uncovered, in a crowded elevator or a physician who is sick him- or herself and still sees patients —  one thing that truly irks me is someone who will go out among others when they are contagiously sick.  Believe me, there’s no “glory” or “guts” in tanking up on medicine and going forth. Rather, there’s the likelihood that others will contract whatever it is the sickie has, and so the cycle will go on, perhaps with dire consequences.

Once, I remember one of my eye doctors entered the examination room with a surgical mask on. “I’m just a little sick,” she told me. And because I was a newbie to the lupus-patient-protect-thyself world, I didn’t quarrel with her…until a couple of days later when my fever spiked to 102 and I ended up with a massive case of “a little sick” myself. Masks, hand sanitizers, coughs into the fabric of a shirt are all “well” and good – until they’re not, and others suffe for it.

The person who is ill might not think that there are immune-suppressed people among the strangers walking up and down the grocery store aisles or waiting in line for prescriptions (don’t we all just look so healthy?!),  but he or she who thinks this is wrong. Wrong! And even as they might recover quickly, others of us will be getting much sicker for a much longer period of time. Or, worse, might go from a “common” infection to something requiring hospitalization. In the spirit of giving a gift you would like yourself, abundant, loving presents these are not.

We’re approaching flu season, which is always a cautionary time for those of us with chronic, serious health conditions. I supppose that’s why I’m writing with such dogged intent: Please! If you are sick, before you think of yourself and all that you “must” do, think of others who are less healthy than you are. Think of the pregant women whose discomfort is amplified many times over if they get a “simple cold” or other illness while carrying their beloved baby. Think of the elderly for whom a sniffle can turn into a hospitalization in a heartbeat. Finally, think of how great a gift you are giving to society if you do stay away from others when you’re contagious. If you don’t pass along your illness to someone else, you don’t extend the “life” of the bugs. And a shorter cold and flu season is sure cause to celebrate!

Yesterday, at a store, my cashier asked a co-worker several feet away, “Are you sick?” He replied,” If I were sick, I wouldn’t be here.” She shrugged and said, “Well, if I were sick, I’d be here. I need the money.”

Oh, my, really? Please – we who would come in contact with you really don’t need the germs!



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