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When Someone Told Me 'All Kids Get Sick'

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While chatting with another mom about my medically complex son’s most recent hospital visit, I was hit with the response, “all kids get sick.”

I paused and tried to think of how to respond.

Well, of course, I thought — all kids do get sick. However, my child is not like all kids. He has a chronic medical condition. Healthy children and kids with chronic conditions are not the same. When a healthy child gets sick, they see the doctor if necessary, they get better, and life goes on.

When a child with medical complexities or chronic conditions gets sick, it usually results in at least one hospital admission. It’s adding on more medications to the long list your child is already taking. It can feel never-ending. This is our life 24/7. When our kids get “sick,” it makes their existing condition even tougher to handle.

When the parent of a chronically ill child tells you their child has been unwell, they’re not talking about a stuffy nose or a sore throat. They’re talking about their third emergency room trip in a month because their condition is really causing problems. They’re talking about seeing one of their child’s specialists yet again because whatever is going on isn’t resolving, which results in more tests being run to try and figure it out.

Kids with chronic medical conditions aren’t going to get better in a few days to a week. When we say our child has been sick or in the hospital again, we don’t mean with a cold or a stomach bug. A chronically ill child and a child getting sick from common childhood ailments are not the same thing. This is something our children deal with every day of their lives.

I normally try to give people the benefit of the doubt when I get these type of comments. I know it can be hard to find the words to say when you aren’t the one going through it. Still, it’s disheartening to be told this when your child isn’t doing so well or fighting yet another battle due to their condition.

Parents, I know it hurts. It hurts when you’re talking about something stressful going on due to your child’s condition and it gets compared to something not even remotely close to what you’re going through. So please, if someone you know says “all children get sick,” speak up, gently, and let them know the difference.

Originally published: June 11, 2018
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