This week, the Cheetah Keeper’s sister and I have been poorly – we have had either Winter Vomiting Bug, or a close relation of it. For those of you yet to experience the joys of this virus that travels at the speed of light amongst nurseries, pre-schools, schools and wherever else it gets to, it does exactly what it says on the tin. I do not feel I have to elaborate further.
In our house viruses have a tendency to hit us all harder than ‘normal’ people – ie those without Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and a system that goes into complete overdrive at the first sign of infection. It’s not a mega big deal (we’re not immuno-suppressed or anything like that and there’s plenty of people out there for whom it is a much bigger problem) but it’s hard for us to shift the blighters and it makes us fatigue faster. With fatigue can come muscle wastage which then means it takes longer to get better… Viruses and bacterial infections are horrid for everyone but when they exacerbate an existing condition it adds to the unpleasantness.
This week I am the Piano Lady for the school nativity plays. The Cheetah Keeper is a camel in the Foundation Stage one (that’s nursery and Reception in old money) and his sister is a dancing star in the Key Stage 1 (that’s middle and top infants) performance. I am the pianist – knocking out 14 songs for them to
angelically sing along to whilst their parents look on with pride – and I make sure that someone helps the Cheetah Keeper down the steps from the stage.
However, the bug has meant that I’ve had to miss rehearsals whilst I adhere to the school rule of not throwing up for 24 hours before you set foot in the place again. Some schools have a 48 hour rule – it helps control the spread of infection. The entire teaching staff have had to juggle their rehearsing because of me.
Today was allowed back in – having been quizzed as to whether I was well enough to be. As I was playing Away In A Manger the Head brought through some prospective parents on a tour of the school – awww, how cute. One said hello – a friend of a friend. We left the building at the same time and I asked her what she’d thought of the tour. “Oh, very good but we were all sick last night and I couldn’t cope with it any more… so we’re going home for five minutes before we got to music…” We ascertained that sick meant ‘sick’, the point of infection (probably the same as ours) and that it had been ravaging their household for 2 days. But they didn’t feel ‘too bad’ so had come out.
And there, in my head began a rant (which I didn’t have the nerve to say!). You know that you’ve got a fairly unpleasant bug and yet you’ve still come into a school, preparing hard for Christmas, with an infection that can wipe out a class in a couple of days – let alone the teachers. With no idea of family situations at home (sick/elderly relatives, newborns, to suggest a few) you make a decision to drag yourself and your sick baby and toddler into this environment, before going home to catch your breath and going to toddler music – with shared instruments, things in mouths and all the joys that being small brings. Nobody is going to relish turning up for music class and coming home with a sickness bug – really they’re not. And if you’re pregnant, or have a newborn, or a little refluxer, or child on antibiotics or, or, or…. you’ll be even less grateful.
Selfish, irresponsible and plain thoughtless. I’ve sat through the days of ‘house arrest’ with 2 children being ill – chicken pox, scarlet fever, other sick bugs. It’s not pleasant by any means but it’s the right thing to do. Don’t share the bugs – you don’t know what they might do to the next person.
So in the interests of the seasonal festivities fast approaching if you or your child succumbs to a winter nasty bug, please stay at home until you’re better. At least 24 hours after your last attack of diarrhoea or vomiting. That way we all stand a better chance of having a happy, healthy Christmas.