Sick But Social: Did You Just Cough In My Face?

October 30, 2016

By Stacey Philpot

I avoid germs like the plague because for me, well, germs pretty much are the plague. What may be just a little virus or an annoying little cold for one person is a show-stopping, game-changing, progress-reversing, month-stealing seriously big deal for me.

I try to explain this to people. I stammer on about my compromised immune system as I spray the couch with Lysol before the once-in-a-blue-moon houseguest is out the door. I try and nonchalantly ask my husband if he “might want to sanitize that hand before he touches me with it?” While “oohing and ahhing” at my daughter’s preschool creations at pick-up, I slather her in sanitizer and beg everyone to leave their shoes at the door. For the love of God people, I adore you, but no your friend who just got over the flu cannot come for a sleepover.

And then it happens. My four-year-old daughter crawls up in my lap for some snuggles and proceeds to cough directly in my face.

“Did you just cough in my face?”


While I don’t want to break this rare and lovely moment of blissful bonding, I also don’t want to spend the next six weeks battling an upper respiratory infection, attached to my nebulizer or in the hospital. All because a four-year-old with the sniffles sneezed in my face.

Perhaps, you think I’m bluffing. This rapid escalation would never happen?

Picture me, hooked up to an I.V. in Michigan getting the liquid gold, fresh antibodies from those heroes of mine who donate it to me on the regular. The phone rings and I recognize the number as my daughter’s school, in Florida. I answer on the first ring and can hear my daughter crying in the background. The director informs me my daughter is running a fever and vomiting. Queue my ultimate Mom freak out. My husband is at work an hour away. Will the friend scheduled to pick my daughter up after school still be inclined to do so while she’s vomiting? I almost rip the I.V. straight from my arm. Instead, I make arrangements for my kiddo, ask the nurse to bump up my infusion rate, a choice I know I’ll pay the price for later and purchase an earlier departure flight from my phone while the infusion pulses through my veins.

I race to the airport, board my plane while reading a status update on my sweet little one and walk through my front door by midnight. At which time I make a decision. I let my sweet, sick little girl crawl up in the bed with me, whatever the cost. And the cost is a trip to the E.R. 24 hours later.

What was little more than a low-grade fever and a stomach bug for my sweet girl became unstoppable vomiting, dehydration, and an impressive fever for my fragile immune system. And while the next two assaults weren’t as intense, they weren’t a lot of fun either. Because I always get to enjoy viruses two to four times.

So when someone with a compromised immune system gives you a full body spray-down in Lysol, or looks at you in shock and panic when you cough directly in their face, just know it’s not you they don’t love, it’s your germs.

What’s the germiest thing someone’s ever done to you?


About Stacey

photo-225x300Stacey is an author, goofball and avid reader. You can find her blog at where she endeavors to encourage other warriors like herself along in their journey of battling for health and discovering wholeness. She is mom to Hayden and Avery, stepmom to Julie and wife to Ryan (a smarty pants who works at NASA and logs their whole life on spreadsheets and pie charts, true story!) She has a strange affinity for eating whole meals in bed (don’t tell anyone) and is convinced smelling old books will make her smarter.

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