Sunday, November 8, 2015

How Movie Outings Are Extremely Selfish When You Are Sick

I can count on my fingers the number of times I've enjoyed a date night in the past few years. Our family has been through many trials and tribulations throughout this time. I had a life saving invasive brain surgery for Chiari Malformation where I had no flow of cerebral spinal fluid and my brain stem was fully compressed. I spent much time in a wheelchair and had to learn how to walk again and operate outside of compression. I had a second emergency brain surgery due to a massive super infection. There have been so many setbacks, such extreme and unbearable pain along with permanent neurological issues. Then we witnessed the recent premature birth of our beautiful grandchild at 29 weeks whom we are so blessed to have her in our lives. She is medically fragile, suffering from some medical setbacks including neutropenia (a disease of the white blood cells that disables her immune system from being able to fight off even a simple cold).

My body has been through so much, my immune system is extremely fragile and I am unable to fight off illnesses. Even a simple cold that lasts a few days for the average person can take weeks to months for my body to fight off as I continue to recover and battle procedures and surgeries.

This is the tiniest little fighter I know. We are so blessed to have her at home with us now. We have to be extremely careful not to bring any germs home to her until she can grow stronger and capable of fighting off illnesses.

As embarrassing as it can be, I have no choice but to wear a mask when I am out in public. People stare at me. People avoid me. People make rude comments directly to me. People stop me and ask if I'm contagious. People ask me why I'm out. I've had people scream at me when caught off guard from seeing a mask as they are playing with their phones (walking distracted) and happen to look up as we enter/leave a store at the same time. People are scared of me. People judge me and believe that I have some nasty funk that I'm going to give them which couldn't be further from the truth. I am simply trying to stay well and protect myself and the sweet little preemie at home.

Recently, we decided to attempt a date night of dinner and a movie. All men love James Bond so we found ourselves at Spectre. My biggest fear of getting sick is the pharmacy and the movies. Maybe people who don't feel up to doing other activities don't think about the fact they could spread their germs to others when they come to the movies? I don't know what their rationality is for it, but it happens every time I go to the movies. So, I found the seating furthest away from the people already seated and brought my handy little mask in case it became crowded or people sat near us.

courtesy of getty images

This movie was quite popular and the closed room became packed. A couple sat in front of us, a couple to the right of us and a couple to the left of us one chair over on our row. It would be the couple to the left of us that would leave me on edge. Although it was hard to breathe in the warm theater, I put on my mask and ignored the stares from those around me. The couple to the left was eating popcorn and began coughing. I get it, kernels get stuck in your throat - you have to cough. They finished the popcorn, the coughing continued and what I would call a "snot-rag" entered the picture. Continuous sniffling and blowing of the nose began, coughing continued in harmony: Woman *cough - the deep rattle cough where you need to cough something up when you have a nice infection going... followed by her date's *cough. Then, "snot-rag" *sniffle and *blow -- whole movie. So, let's get this straight... couple is sick enough to know they need to bring a "snot-rag" with them and they intentionally come to see a movie. Intentionally knowing that a movie is in a CLOSED room. Intentionally knowing that such room will be filled with individuals who will become exposed to their germs (Up to 225 patrons. I questioned the cashier before purchasing the tickets. At the time, 33 out of 225 had been sold 15 minutes prior to the start of the movie). Intentionally leaking and blowing their infected fluids into the air everyone is forced to breathe for a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes each time they cough and blow their noses.

Now, you could easily turn this around on me and say -- well, if your immune system is that fragile, you should stay home and watch it on demand when it's released. I have been. For many, many years. Again, I can count on my fingers how many date nights I have gone on in the past several years. Do I not deserve to leave my home? What about those fighting cancer? Should they stay home, too? How about their caretakers? Those with invisible illnesses. We are already punished and plagued by what we suffer from. I wore my mask throughout the entire movie and yet my eyes are swollen, I have a headache and my nose is beginning to run. It hits me so quick. Can't people who are sick simply stop being selfish and wait a few days until they are well enough to be out in public and are no longer contagious? Plain and simple, if you are sick... and you go on a Movie Outing, then you are being extremely selfish. Please give yourself time to get over your communicable illness, because you'll be well in DAYS. It's not fair for those of us who never feel up to leaving our home to be exposed to your illness. We can't fight it off and it could kill us and our loved ones. Please be considerate, this should be common sense.

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