We are in the thick of cold and flu season, which, let’s face it, seems to last from about September to June these days. The time of year when kids morph into walking, talking, germ-infested machines spreading those nasty little buggers over every surface they touch and coughing them into the very air that we breathe.
No amount of hand-washing or Clorox bleach or Vitamin C-infused Echinacea elixirs will stop your child from getting sick at one point or another. And when the flu hits, or the Norovirus descends in a blaze of explosive glory, please keep your children home from school.
Because while your child may have a strong immune system and recover quickly (which is GREAT), not all kids are so lucky. And for some? It truly is a matter of life and death.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Mia Carella, Writer writes a powerful PSA urging parents to please, PLEASE, keep your sick kids at home.
Mia is the mother to 8-year-old Evalyn, who was born with serious congenital heart defects. In her short time on earth, Evalyn has already had to undergo two open heart surgeries and three cardiac catheterizations, including a stent placement.
She is medically fragile and even a common cold can have dangerous, life-threatening implications.
Alongside a photo of her daughter breathing through a nebulizer, Mia begins her post by saying:
This is your friendly reminder to please KEEP YOUR SICK KIDS HOME FROM SCHOOL. I’M BEGGING YOU.
She then apologizes to anyone who may be offended by her post. Because, as we all know, nothing stirs up the social media fires into a raging inferno like someone trying to SAVE THEIR OWN CHILD’S LIFE.
Mia is quick to explain that she understands that it’s not always an easy choice to keep a sick child home. There are jobs to consider and childcare to find. She doesn’t pretend to know other people’s situations but what she does try to do, is explain HER situation.
You don’t know that when you are the parent of a medically complex child, a “simple” cold or virus is actually very complicated.
You don’t know that a common cold can turn into a life threatening issue for our child in the blink of an eye.
When Mia wrote the post she and her family were in a countdown to Evalyn having to undergo yet more invasive cardiac procedures. Procedures for which she had to be healthy. anxiety levels were high.
You don’t know that we may have serious medical procedures scheduled and that it is imperative for our child to stay healthy so that these appointments can happen.
The intent behind her post was not to inflame readers, but rather to educate them. To ask them to take a moment and see the world through someone else’s lens. To recognize that we are not all in the same boat. That for some of us? The boat is a tippy canoe, rather than an ocean liner.
So, please, don’t be offended. Instead try to put yourself in my shoes.
And, before you send your sick child to school, please think of my child.
My twins spent the first few weeks of their lives in the NICU. I had to scrub my hands raw before I was allowed to touch them. Any sign of illness from a visitor was met with an immediate ban. Coughing? Runny nose? You were out. The nurses were relentless. Because they had to be. Lives depended on it. Literally.
Out in the world? Our medically fragile children do not have the same protective barrier.
I wish I could say that everyone took the post for what it was. A mother advocating for her child and the approximately 3 million other medically fragile children in the U.S. Unfortunately, that is not the case. While many people were supportive and shared their own stories…
Others disagreed with the post, citing strict school absence policies as the reason to send sick kids to school:
Still other “super helpful” people recommended homeschooling:
Due to the backlash that she received on her post and comments such as these, Mia wrote her own comment:
Mia also went on to write a follow-up post. In in she reminds people that words matter. And that “behind every public Facebook post or comment there is a real person with a heart and feelings – even if you don’t know them personally.” She also had a message for those people who accused her of exaggerating her daughter’s medical issues:
We have had some very traumatic experiences. Please don’t say I am exaggerating her medical issues. You don’t know what we’ve been through.
And finally? She explained the reason and the intent behind the post. Which was simply this:
To let others know what things look like from a perspective different than their own. To raise awareness of a viewpoint that may not have been considered previously.
And isn’t that the point of sharing our perspectives with others? To give people insight into a world that they may not even know existed? To broaden their views and help them to recognize that there is so much more to life than the little box that they live in? Because sometimes? The only way we can see the flaws in our own perspective is to see someone else’s.
For the majority of parents you won’t have to know the fear of a simple cough turning into the fight of your child’s life. But for parents of children with suppressed immune systems? This IS their reality. This fear? It is real.
Mia, thank you for sharing your view with us. And know, we are with you and Evalyn.
And please, for the love, keep your sick kids at home.
This is your friendly reminder to please ?keep ?your ?sick ?kids ?home ?from ?school. I’m begging you. If you are…