I have totally kept you all up to date with all of the nuances of having a child with a suppressed immune system but I have been sitting on this one for awhile. And I truly think it’s because it has hit me so hard!
To some of you the below post might seem silly and trivial given all that Bea has gone through but others might be able to see my point. Regardless, if you agree with my sentiment or not, I am being open and honest about my heartbreak over the water situation.
Let me cut to the chase…Bea isn’t allowed in lakes or rivers her whole life and public pools we have to be VERY careful, not get her go under, and limit the amount of water that gets into her mouth – basically almost impossible when she is little.
I learned this months ago and you would have thought the doctor told me something MUCH worse by my reaction but I LIVED at the pool in the summer times and vacationed in Michigan my whole life. I just can’t imagine Bea not being on swim teams or having to sit on the side when her friends are playing at a pool party.
It honestly makes me sick to my stomach to think about her missing out on these things.
The reasoning behind this is that there are viruses you can catch that can be VERY dangerous to someone who has a suppressed immune system. The way that I understand it is that in some cases these viruses can attack the biliary system and as we all know – that is one of Bea’s weakest spots.
HOWEVER, Bea IS allowed to swim in private pools as long as they are kept clean. I also think that eventually when she understands that she can’t go under and swallow water it might be a different discussion. But for right now, over the next few years…she isn’t allowed in lakes or rivers and, again, we have to be VERY careful in public pools.
Now what does VERY careful mean? Basically, Bea is free and easy to swim in private pools – salt water or chlorinated. We did it over the weekend and she was in heaven. The public pool thing gets a little dicey since there are SO many people in the pool. When she is old enough to understand that she can’t go under and get water in her mouth, she will be fine. Right now, she obviously doesn’t understand that.
SO – we belong to a swim club and we will be setting up a little blow up pool next to the baby pool for her to swim in. Although some kids might climb in and play with her (which is what I want!), we have to be careful that they don’t have any GI issues that could harm Bea. Thankfully, we belong to a VERY family friendly pool and after sending an email explaining everything to the moms – I received tremendous feedback and support in everyone being extra careful.
Since our swim club empties the baby pool every night and refills it the next day, Bea is allowed to splash around and be careful in the mornings when the water is fresh. I will have to be careful about her putting toys in her mouth that have been in the water but ultimately, I just want her to be able to enjoy the summer with friends while staying safe. This doesn’t guarantee that she WON’T get any of these pool viruses but it definitely decreases her risk. Our whole lives will be a constant battle of how much we keep her in the bubble and how much we expose her to every day things.
I know some of you are reading this like “you are crazy” or “this isn’t that big of a deal” but for those with kids just think about this…
Your daughter or son having to miss out on going to the pool during the summer with their friends
Or having to sit on the side of the pool while they all jump off of the diving board or swim in their swim meets
Or your family takes a trip to another family’s lake house and your daughter or son can’t go tubing or splash around in the water with friends.
Ultimately, I just keep thinking that Bea has already had such a tough time and she has overcome SO much. I just want things to be EASY for her. And having a giant scar on her belly, not being able to swim, etc etc is going to set her apart from other kids and I know how mean some kids can be.
BUT – on the flip side…she is about to have a sibling that is SO close in age and will be her best friend through it all. They will be lucky to have each other. 🙂
More updates on this as I get them!