Thursday, May 31, 2007

On being considerate...

Please allow me to rant for a moment. The subject of my rant is in regards to people being considerate of other's whose situation may be different. I consider myself a tolerable person in that I am aware that I may not know all the factors in regards to an individuals decision process, therefore allowing for some reasonability in what seems to me to be an idiotic decision. I am also aware that most people do not do the same for whatever reason, although I do believe the primary reason is selfishness (oops, there I go being judgmental and assuming).

Case in point, the guy with TB. Granted he made the decision to continue his honeymoon plans based on his assumption that he was fine because he did not feel sick. Sure, this healthy young man did not feel sick, but what would someone like me who is immune compromised feel like if I contracted the disease because I sat close to him on the plane? I'm guessing here, but considering that I and others like me are not "healthy", we would likely get sick rather quickly, and possible die as a result.

There is question as to whether the type of TB he has is transmittable, but if it isn't then how did he get it? And does it simply seem as though it isn't trasmittable based on the fact that his young, healthy bride, who had the most contact with him, did not also get sick? Could he have possibly transmitted it to someone less healthy?

Whenever I fly, I always wear a mask, from the time I set foot on the plane until I disembark. Yes, I may look a bit odd, and I do get a few glances from the other passengers, but I do it anyway because it keeps me healthy. I do admit to being a little on the side of the "germ-aphobic", but it is for good reason. I am aware that there are other people who do not take into consideration that there is a possiblity of transmitting their disease to others, and I'm not really sure they care. Sure, its just the flu, cold, TB, etc. everyone gets it, so what's the big deal right? I have to go to work, school, the store, on my honeymoon, etc., so what if someone else catches it, big deal? They don't even think about the fact that someone else's situation is different. Some of us aren't healthy enough to fight off these "bugs", and as a result our lives are in jeopardy.

One time a few years ago I caught the flu. I spent three weeks in the hospital, 10 days on a ventilator, and another month recovering at home. Why? Because a simple case of the flu turned into another bout of pneumocystic pneumonia because my immune system could was too weak. Pneumocystic pneumonia exists all around us, but 98% of the people who come into contact with it never develop symptoms because their immune system is able to fight it off. Contracting the flu weakened my immune system even further than it already was, thus providing an opportunity for the pneumonia to multiply and spread.

So the lesson for today is to be considerate of others. People are different, they have different situations going on. Be respectful. Just because you are sick and will get better, doesn't mean that the person next to you in the grocery store, or at work, or wherever will do the same. You don't know what that other person has going on. Just because my immune system isn't very good, doesn't mean that I should stay locked up in my house to stay well. I take precautions, I wear masks when appropriate, I was my hands many times a day, I use hand sanitizer, I don't touch my face, etc. But it is my right to be out in public without risking my life. And really, how bad would you feel if you found out someone died because you spead your germs?

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