DAY-COULDN’T-CARE(LESS)

It was on a Sunday evening that I started rethinking the rash on ZGirl’s chest. I told Mr. DD that it could be ringworm, but after googling it and finding several sites that addressed it in daycares and that it wasn’t anything to keep a child home from, I didn’t think twice about it Monday when I readied her for drop-off. In fact, when I arrived, I mentioned it to one of the staff that it might be ringworm and asked her to just keep it covered, a supposedly easy feat considering its placement.

Within a few hours, the director called and told me that since it does  appear to be ringworm, I would have to come and pick her up. I was miffed, but I looked at it as an excuse to spend the afternoon with her. I did run her to my FP to get a confirmation and treatment advice, which yes, it was and he said to simply keep it dry, covered, and apply lamisil or a similar product. When I asked if I should keep her home from daycare, he also said I shouldn’t need to since that’s where she probably got it from, but keeping her home a couple days during treatment would cut down on someone else getting it. So, that’s what I did.

By Thursday, I figured she should be good to go back to daycare. I dropped her off and thought nothing more of it.

It was when I picked her up after work that things started getting ugly.

I turned the corner to her room of the center and there was ZGirl sitting her carseat outside the door in the hallway. The gate was up in the door and a caregiver was seated on the other side of the gate. When I asked why, she said that she didn’t want to get ringworm. The director was also in the room and she said that her staff was susceptible to it since they had had it once (“No, duhhhh. That’s why ZGirl has it now,” I said in my head.). Then she asked if ZGirl would be back tomorrow and I told her yes, and walked out. I was so angry to see my daughter put out like a nasty bag of laundry that I could barely see straight.

When I got home and told Mr. DD, he wanted to call the director himself to a little butt-chewing. I actually convinced him to just sleep on it, but we both agreed it was time to find a new daycare.

Friday morning I was running late so Mr. DD offered to take ZGirl to daycare for me. I had just arrived at work when he called me. He said that he walked in the doors and there was one of the staff telling him that ZGirl wasn’t welcome since she had ringworm.

Mr. DD demanded that the staff member call the director, who wasn’t even there yet, to ream her out. Once on the phone, the director voiced her concern over how we weren’t treating ZGirl’s infection; how she was understaffed and she couldn’t afford to have staff out with ringworm; and how she had informed me the night before that if ZGirl still had any signs of ringworm that she couldn’t come back until it was finally clear.

Mr. DD responded that it was due to her staff’s carelessness that ZGirl was infected in the first place. He told her that ZGirl had been receiving treatment since Monday and that the doctor said it was no problem for her to return. He told her that her lack of staffing was not his concern; his only concern was his daughter.

The director finally conceded that ZGirl could be left there only after they stripped her down to see if she had any other flare-ups. This bit of news only fueled my anger since I am sure they weren’t doing that to the other children in the daycare.

Finally, Mr. DD told me that when he brought ZGirl into her room at the center, the staff member there seemed irritated that ZGirl was going to stay. This made us both wonder how she was going to be treated over the course of the day, but we refused to give in to their irrational judgment.

When I went to pick her up, the director pulled me aside and asked to speak to me. She told me how another child was sent home with ringworm that morning and how ZGirl probably gave it to her. I corrected her by telling her that ZGirl, who cannot walk, cannot crawl, most certainly did NOT give ringworm to anyone. It was the staff that is transferring it because they are failing to take the simplest precautions. I defended our decision by telling her that every day we come to daycare and see multiple children oozing green snot out of every facial orifice, spewing and smearing pathogens on everything and everyone without recourse, but yet my daughter, who has a fungus that spreads by deliberately touching her and then someone else without washing (in which they would have to undress her as well), has somehow attracted their misguided attention.

I told her that I was highly offended seeing ZGirl the day before in the hallway as if she was a leper, and that they certainly turned face on us considering that the same staff member who dropped ZGirl on her face – who couldn’t put her down for days following that accident -now avoided contact of any kind. The director told me not to take this defensively, but there are other options for care out there, to which I replied that we were most certainly aware of our options and that they were being pursued.

Now before someone tries to play devil’s advocate on me, reminding me that if the shoe was on the other foot, blah blah blah, yes, if I was a parent, I would be very irritated that my child is being exposed to a contagion. In fact, I am a parent who ends up finding out that my child is exposed every day to something at the center that could be entirely preventable if the staff was taking standard precautions. This is why ZGirl has had in the past two months an ear infection, bronchiolitis, RSV, another ear infection, pink-eye, another  ear infection and then the ringworm. Let’s not even discuss how she yet again has a runny nose and mattering eyes. Guess how many times Mr. DD, XBoy or myself have had signs of an upper respiratory infection or pinkeye or ringworm/athlete’s foot in these past two months? Zip.

As for trying to understand why I am working myself up about this when it was just three months ago that a staff member dropped her? I wish I could explain it to you, but I don’t feel anger or malice over that accident. Maybe it’s because I am just so bloody thankful that she’s OK when I find myself imagining the worst; that she could have died in the arms of a stranger. I just expected the care center to feel guilty enough to be more cautious with her and realizing instead of providing extra care, they seem to have just stopped caring. All the other actions are accidents, but to deliberately provide subpar-care? That’s intentional, and in short, unforgiveable.