the time I became an infectious disease hazard.

Well, that’s weird.

I don’t know how or why I noticed the spot on my abdomen, but I do remember thinking that it wasn’t there when I went to bed the night before. As I got dressed, I noticed another peculiarity: a strange blister on my hand, between two fingers.

The weird blister warranted attention from my mother. She took one glance and knew immediately:

chicken pox.

The memory is still pretty clear. I was 8 years old. It was July, or August. August, I think. The summer before third grade. The ‘pox was going around the neighborhood; the family across the street was spreading it amongst their four offspring and my Mom had (wisely) sent me over there to play with them every. single. day, and every. single. day when I came over Mrs. T sat me down and took my temperature – marveling that I was not yet running a fever, even after days upon days of exposure.

Until that morning.

I don’t remember feeling particularly ill; I simply noticed a weirdness on my body that was not there previously. Actually, I felt great, because that day my Dad and I had tickets to a Cardinals game.

In case you’re wondering, this is the point of this story.

I remember standing in my parents’ bedroom – I distinctly remember facing their four-drawer dresser as my Mom and Dad conferenced: Should she go? Should she stay home? She feels fine. They’re not all over yet.

In the end, it was decided that I – we – would go.

I was under strict orders not to show anyone at the game the Weird Thing on my hand, and to hide any other new Weird Things I noticed on my person. I think I was told at that point that I finally had chicken pox, but I sure don’t remember feeling any different.

Well after we returned home from the game, the whole thing turned into a super-shitty time. Fever and itching and chicken pox down my fucking throat. I laid in bed, absolutely miserable, while my mom sat in a chair and told me ridiculous made-up stories.

But before that, all of that, I got to go to a baseball game.



EDIT: It just dawned on me: do children even get chicken pox any more? Or will I reminisce to my children about chicken pox the way my parents talk about measles and mumps?


2 thoughts on “the time I became an infectious disease hazard.

  1. Katie says:

    It’ll be the second one. We vaccinate for chicken pox now. Well, us sane people do. Your story is remarkably similar to mine. I didn’t get to go to a Cardinals game, though. My mother sat me in a hard plastic lawn chair in the hot sun in the front yard and smeared calamine lotion all over my pocky, fevered, furious little body. I also had the throat pox. It was like hell. I imagine the only thing worse than THAT is being the parent of THAT and having to care for THAT while the sympathy and compassion you have for your pathetically and genuinely sick little child wage war with your impulse to smother her whiny, crabby, itchy little ass with a pillow. Thank goodness for vaccines, am I right?

    • theotherjulie says:

      Amen! I also just remembered that my brother had it at the same time, which puts him at about age 2. All I remember is being a miserable, whiny mess of a human being. I have absolutely no recollection of my brother being sick, too, but that must have been hell on our poor mother.

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