The Consequence of Germs
Earlier this week, one of The Boy’s colleagues was diagnosed with strep throat. And then said colleague came to work the day after and the day after that, contagious throat infection and all.
And that means my beloved and I will not see each other for the next week while we wait out the incubation period. Because I take a medication for my rheumatoid arthritis that suppresses my immune system. The potential consequences of me getting strep throat are too dire to risk The Boy being in the same room as me.
And I have just about had it with people who insist on inflicting their germs on the rest of the world. Whether it is the current measles outbreak or strep throat, the consequences of sharing those germs can be profound.
You may stand next to someone at the coffee shop who has a new baby. The man in the elevator may be taking care of a frail parent. The woman on the subway may carry it home to her kids, not have childcare for them while they are sick, and might be out of sick days herself )or not get any). Or her children — or the children of your colleagues — may take it to school and infect most of their class.
Or one of your healthy, able-bodied colleagues may have a partner who has a suppressed immune system.
Your decision to go out in public when you have an infectious illness that has potentially serious consequences has a direct impact on the people around you. You may be perfectly healthy with the kind of immune system that can withstand this kind of illness, but any of the people you are standing or sitting next to may not. Or they may have someone in their life who must not be exposed to this kind of contagion.
Sometimes, the illness that you worked through, just dragging for a few days, can make someone very sick for weeks. On land them in the hospital. Or kill them.
Your decision to be careless has consequences.
In this case, the consequences of The Boy being exposed to strep throat means that I do not get the help I need to buy groceries in -30C weather. It means my mother goes without the nutritious and satisfying dinner that was going to help her build strength after her surgery (because frozen dinners do not build strength). It means I don’t make soup, because my booking with an attendant is not long enough to do so and I rely on my partner to help me make meals that take a long time to cook. It means The Boy and I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day together.
And all of these are mere annoyances compared to the potential life-threatening consequences your decision to go to work might have on someone in the families of the rest of your colleagues. Or the man in the coffee shop, the woman on the subway or any of the multitude of people who you exposed to this illness.
Your decision to be careless with our health has consequences.
I have lost my ability to be polite, so if you cannot handle strong language, avert your eyes, for I am about to tell you how I really feel.
STAY THE FUCK HOME!
No one admires you for coming to work while sick and contagious. If your employer thought about it, they’d rather have you use two of your sick days than losing 20 work days while it works its way through your colleagues and their families.
Think. Use that large brain that’s a result of millions of years of evolution. Or that God gave you, if that’s how you prefer to look at it.
Think. Face the fact that sometimes others bear the consequences of your actions.
Think. About someone other than yourself.
Think. Consider that not everyone is as healthy as you are. And if they are, maybe someone in their life is not.
Think. Get vaccinated. Stay home when you’re sick.
Think. Help your community stay healthy and infection-free.
Think. Reduce the strain on the healthcare system.