Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Scarlet Letter

I committed the cardinal sin of motherhood yesterday.

After spending almost two weeks away from the gym, I loaded up my two little ones and headed  to work out on Monday. Analise had been battling a cold for a few weeks, but it finally seemed like the ooey, gooey YUCK had stopped draining out of her.

I was happily gaining momentum on the elliptical machine when I noticed the desk manager walking toward me, looking me straight in the eyes.

"Analise is really having a hard time, she's coughing pretty badly," she reported.

Analise, when she first started getting sick over Thanksgiving

I went with her to the child care room to find Analise playing happily on the floor. The care providers explained she had been coughing so badly tears came to her eyes and it seemed "croupy and deep." I admitted she still had a bit of a cough on rare occasion, but that she was on the tail end of a cold and seemed to be getting better. We had been to the doctor when she spiked a fever at the onset, and they had assured me she just had your run of the mill, viral cold.

At that point, I was at a bit of a loss. Abandon my workout and take my kids home, even though I was pretty sure my daughter was OK, or go back and continue?

"Do you want me to take her home?" I asked the childcare providers. They have policies about such things and if they felt my child was sick and shouldn't be there, I'd comply.

"No, I think she's doing OK, we just wanted to make sure," one replied.

"We just wanted to make sure she's not spreading something to the other kids," another provider chimed in. "Sometimes when kids have a cold it moves down into their chest and could turn into pneumonia or bronchitis."

Pause.

This is my third child. I have run the gamut from running to the doctor at the first sign of illness to waiting until my child is so sick I'm panicked when it comes to taking my kids to the doctor. I've done my best to store up a treasure trove of "this is what to look for" types of advice from my trusted pediatrician. I had been watching her cough closely. No thready breathing before or after. No deep caving in of her chest as she took breaths. No struggling to breathe. She doesn't wake coughing at night but sleeps soundly.

At any rate, I decided to go back to my workout. I had gotten us all there and I wasn't going to abandon ship now.Walking from the childcare room back to the machines, I wasn't sure I'd made the right decision, and I felt like I could feel the other mothers' eyes boring holes through me. "What, you're leaving your sick kid in there to get our kids sick? Thanks a lot!."

For all I know they were paying no attention to the whole exchange, but I couldn't help but feel like the woman with the scarlet letter on her forehead.

SHE knowingly brought her sick kids to childwatch .... SINNER!

Aye.