September 30, 2010
My kids have it. Aeden got it first. Last week he came down with a violent fever and began to develop a series of blisters all over his little body. More like shingles. Ellie's case is manifesting itself as plain old, red, itchy Chickenpox.
Telia is going stir crazy taking care of two little clingy, feverish fussy babies. When I get home from work she looks really wiped out. If you're not a parent you can read this as: Less pay off for WAY more work.
Telia is pregnant. At the moment, this is a inconvenient for two reasons. First, taking care of two whiny sick kids is less pleasant when you are large with child. Secondly, and far more serious are the potential risks of contracting Chickenpox during the first and early second trimesters of pregnancy (weeks 8 - 20). According to the CDC and Mayo Clinic, in about 0.4 - 2.0% of pregnant women who get Chickenpox may have a child with one or more of the following: 1.) mental retardation, 2.) malformed limbs, 3.) vision problems, 4.) scars on the skin and/or 5.) muscle/bone defects. Telia is is about 20 weeks along right now, which places us (hopefully) at lower risk. Also, Telia had Chickenpox when she was little so she is inoculated against an acute outbreak. So, hold the phone, we are probably fine.
Anyway, once you've had Chickenpox, it sticks with you for life. The virus actually lives, dormant, in your nerve cell bodies. If the virus wakes back up, it will affect the skin wired by that nerve. As a result, people with Shingles, or a recurrent VZV infection, will often form blisters in stripes horizontally across their body. Varicella actually means "belt" in Greek.
When I was a kid Chickenpox was a rite of passage. Everybody got it. Like falling off a bicycle or getting a black eye, it tied us to generations gone before. When the Chickenpox vaccine came out I was under the impression Chickenpox was going extinct like Smallpox and my kids would never understand the misery I once suffered. Someday I would tell them all about the itchy scabs that would leave scars. Unfortunately, they are learning all too well. On the upside, tonight Aeden was so tired he just walked into his bed and went to sleep.