Thursday, September 17, 2015

Allergies and trust

Dear teacher,

Don’t tell me to trust you. Not when his life hangs in the balance.

Tell me what you understand his allergies to be. Tell me what you understand his individual health care plan to be. Show me where you keep his epi pen. Tell me that it goes with him, always. Tell me that you’ve been trained in recognizing symptoms of anaphylaxis, that you know how to administer an epi pen, and that you will use his epi pen if you need to.

Don’t tell me to trust you as a substitute for any of that.

I cannot trust you to magically know what his allergies are, because you are not an all-powerful fairy godmother and this is not a fairy tale. I cannot trust you to know what a pediatrician would obviously say is the right health care plan for my child, because pediatricians disagree with each other. That’s why we don’t have universal health care plans. We have individual health care plans, discussed and revised by parents and pediatricians. I am his parent, I have chosen and fired and re-chosen his pediatrician, and I have labored over his individual health care plan.

So here are the steps. You read his individual health care plan. You tell me that you’ve read it and show me you know what it says, and you ask me any questions you may have. And then you tell me that you’ll follow it. You trust me as his parent to tell you the best ways I know to keep him safe. To keep him alive. You trust me as his parent to ask you questions I need to ask you in order to properly meet my responsibility as his parent. You recognize that when I place my child’s life in your hands by leaving him with you, I am showing you all the trust a person could possibly show to another person. But don’t ever try to short-cut that process by demanding I give you my trust blindly.

Show me that I can trust you, and I will. And I will respect you far more for earning my trust than for pretending that it’s easy. A child believes in fairy tales, and a fool gives his trust blindly. I am a parent of a child with life-threatening allergies, and I cannot afford to be either a child or a fool. Ever.

Show me that I can trust you. Please.

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