Now that we’re entering germ season, my anxiety about my immunocompromised daughter, Cammy, skyrockets. Cammy has Rett syndrome, which affects everything about her and her health. She depends on other people to keep her safe and healthy. We rely on others to be smart and avoid going to school or going out in public when they are sick. Unfortunately, we do not live in a world where common sense and compassion for others rule.
Since returning to work as a teacher, I think about Cammy every moment. When a student coughs, sniffles, or has a runny nose, I worry about taking the germs home to Cammy. If Cammy gets sick, she can progress from fighting at home to spending days in the hospital in the blink of an eye.
‘It’s the season of anxiety
Thanksgiving is the first hurdle. Some years, we had to divide and conquer. My husband took our other daughter, Ryan, to celebrate Thanksgiving with his side of the family, while I stayed home with Cammy, who had a minor cold. We stayed home not just for Cammy’s health, but to protect loved ones who have weakened immune systems and would be at the meeting.
After three more weeks of school and exposure to more germs, Christmas is the next hurdle. We rely on our family members to overcome the fear of losing in order to protect Cammy. Otherwise, we’ll be spending part of our vacation at the hospital with Cammy.
As we enter the new year, we still have a long stretch of winter germs to overcome. March is the next hurdle we have to get over before my anxiety subsides. It’s the last trigger month that historically lands Cammy in the hospital, due to what appears to be a common cold.
I am hypersensitive to people with weakened immune systems. I am also aware that not everyone has the support to be able to stay home with a sick child. It is my plea, as a parent of a profoundly special needs child, to defer the COVID-19 protocol about sending a child to school or venturing out in public when sick.
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