Monday, 31 May 2010

Oh no!

There are occupational hazards in all jobs, I know this and in some jobs these can be fatal. I'm not denying that others have it worse than those who work with small children. I am saying that there are hazards when working with small children that don't bear thinking about.

In my job I work with children, small and adorable children. I actually like working with them and have had plenty of time to do so in my life, especially over the last couple of months. I've been working with grade 1 and 2 teachers and their mobs, small, enthusiastic children, children who want to be close, children who get sick with terrible childhood illnesses. I've had contact with hundreds of such children lately. Let me tell you that can be dangerous for your health.

In my years of working with children I've had many memorable things passed onto me, things you might not mention in polite company such as nits, those lovely small bugs that cling to your long hair and are difficult to budge. Most embarrassing when your hair dresser discovers them and recoils in horror, banishing you from her salon. That was bad but this one really takes the cake........

Read on carefully, at your own peril. I'm contagious and the bugs just might fly through cyberspace and get you too. I'm a pariah within my social group, many texts and calls but few brave enough to visit me. I've been banned from schools, from my places of work, sent home, laughed at, humiliated.

It all started a week or so ago, I've been feeling unwell, not able to quite pinpoint what with or why, just unwell and tired. On Saturday morning I noticed a small rash on my chest after a night where I tossed and turned, very hot. Hot with a fever it now seems. On Sunday morning, bleary eyed, I looked in the mirror and almost fainted. My whole body was covered in spots, blotchy, red, angry looking spots.

I consulted my wise neighbour who thought it might be prickly heat, I consulted my friends and colleagues at work who recoiled in horror and cried measles as they ran screaming out of the room. The Doc confirmed it most probably was measles, especially given that I'd been ill for a week or so, had most of the symptoms and worked with small, pesky children. Apparently I'm still very contagious and probably had been all weekend.

My friends are horrified, I look like a freak show and I'm being shunned. Most are polite, offering to bring me things while I'm under house arrest, drop things at the door and phone me from a safe distance to let me know. Some laughed out loud, then controlled themselves, some were a little sympathetic between bouts of uncontrollable laughter. One said, 'but I thought only kids got that not older ladies like yourself'. Mmmm revenge is a dish best served cold with that one.

There are a few of good things about this unfortunate turn of events.

1. Because I've worked with so many children lately, I can't pin point the exact child who infected me therefore I cannot seek retribution. I do have a short list and I was thinking of such things as putting them in too hard a reading group or eating their chocolate or making them play outside in the sun...... all pointless dreams.

2. The doc gave me a week off work, bless my spots that they came out on a Sunday morning and I went to work and got sent home, something about pregnant women in the building?

3. I'm getting some sympathy and offers of help from all quarters, now the mocking and freak show attitudes have passed. I may also be able to put myself behind germ proof glass and sell tickets to see the spotted lady, could be a fortune to be made.

4. I've got the chance to lay about all day and not feel guilty, to catch up on some reading and watch the DVDs that are being left at the door.

5. And best of all I should be right for the weekend, well here's hoping on that score.

Well, that's the story, a cautionary tale for others. My advice, stay away from small children, they should carry a health warning.

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