Monday, May 14, 2007

A Pox Upon Our House!

The bad news is, Chase has the chickenpox.
The good news is, it took me so long to identify that it was chickenpox, he's almost finished with them.

Let me explain.

Some friends of my kids (I'll call them the A kids) were exposed to chickenpox back in March. Because chickenpox has such an annoyingly long wait period, we all forgot about this exposure until the second week of April, when the A kids came down with chicken pox.
Okay, fine, I had decided that my younger two wouldn't be vaccinated for this. I don't agree with this vaccination. Chickenpox was always considered a harmless childhood illness. Once there was a vaccine it was billed as a horrible disease with all sorts of nasty complications. I don't care for that kind of marketing. When Marina had reached 12 and hadn't gotten it, I had her take the vaccination, partly because I know chickenpox can be worse in teens and partly because I didn't want to fight with the art camp she was planning to go to that summer. They required the vaccination.
Anyway, all April I looked for signs of pox. This is like trying to find blue when you've been blind your whole life. Never having seen a case of chickenpox, I had no idea what I was looking for. Everyone told me to look for blisters. I saw none. Books I researched only showed the advanced stages of chicken pox or worst- case scenarios.
The end of April, Sierra got itchy. She showed me mosquito bites on the back of her neck. It still seemed early in the season for mosquitoes. Could this be it? I showed it to a few people who I thought might know, including my friend, the mom of the A kids. Maybe. Not sure. Nothing seemed to develop, and I had misplaced my thermometer so I couldn't take her temperature. She felt warm, but my kids tend to be hot-headed and I have cold hands.
Then the beginning of last week, Chase asked me for the anti itch gel. He had mosquito bites. I have still not seen one mosquito, but they did look like three bites right on his spine, at waistband level. The next day, he had more on his leg. I'm still not seeing anything that makes me think pox, but I can't find that ravenous mosquito either. Wednesday I teach art to some of our homeschooling friends, including the A kids. At this point, the A kids had managed to spread their chickenpox to several people due to their busy schedule, including some who had had the vaccination! All of the A kids insisted that Chase's "bites," which were now on his arms, couldn't be chickenpox. Well they would know, wouldn't they? "Are you itchy?" they asked. "Of course not" my son responded "I used the anti-itch gel!"
Thursday we saw them again at Nature Class. I showed them again. Still no definitive answer. However, once home, I used my brand spanking new thermometer on Chase and he had a low fever. Then I noticed a new crop of "bites." And the older ones seemed to have a raised center, but I've seen mosquito bites do that so I'm STILL not certain.
Yesterday, my parents came over to celebrate Mothers Day with us. My mother took one look at Chase's spots and said, "Of COURSE they're chickenpox!" Which just proves that I should have had her look at them in the first place.
If in doubt, ask mom. If still in doubt, ask grandma.

1 comment:

Bonni said...

Aak! Poor Chase! I hope he's ok and doesn't get too many spots. I still have scars from when I had them as a DON'T break them open! Scratching is a sure fire way to get them to spread, too.

We haven't had them here yet. We chose not to vaccinate either. I know Kori has been exposed twice, so she may have some immunity. Not sure. You'll remember her tank-like immune system? I'm worried that Rai would get a very bad case of them if he were to get them. I think that as the kids get older, we'll have an immunity test done to determine if they need the vaccine or not.

Kudos to grandma for the positive i.d. They are tricky, especially if you're not the one in a million to get a worst-case scenario crop of pox. So don't feel bad!

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