Today my four year old is home sick from school. He started throwing up this morning and has been at it about once an hour for the whole day so far. It’s so sad and it seems like it’s been happening a lot this year. Along with dealing with what feels like the Narnian Eternal Winter, it’s been the winter of non-stop sickies.
I wouldn’t call myself a germaphobe. I let dogs give me “kisses” and if a piece of food falls on the ground at my house, I don’t worry when my son invariably picks it right back up and eats it. But when it comes to colds and flus, I am a whole different kind of animal. I become a Lysol-wipe-wielding lunatic. I have very strong opinions about spreading germs, and to be honest with you, most of the people in my family think I’m nuts.
Nothing annoys me more than people who are sick – not just a cough or runny nose sick, but fever and throwing up sick – and who insist on continuing on as though nothing is different; they come to work, they go to family outings. They act as though they aren’t spreading sickness.
When I or one of my children are sick, we hunker down and go nowhere. We watch movies. We eat popsicles. We drink tea (or Gatorade). We miss out on events when we’re sick. We don’t go to other people’s home without first calling them up and saying “Hey, we want to come, but we are sick with *insert current illness*. Do you want to skip it and re-schedule?”
And you know what? It sucks. Since January of this year, it seems like someone in the family has been sick each week. This means that on top of having a crummy long winter, we’ve been isolated as well. But when I think about going out to different functions, all I picture is how annoyed I would be if someone else did that to me.
So tell me. Is there etiquette about this? What do you do when you’re sick? Do you send your kids to school sick? Do you go to work? Is your decision to go to work sick influenced by financial obligations? Do you feel that if you’re meant to get sick you’ll get sick so it doesn’t bother you to be around sick people?