Thursday, January 15, 2015

One Measley Vacation

The current outbreak of measles connected with the Disneyland parks reminds me of that awful Christmas vacation in 1988, where I spent a week in bed looking the ugliest I had ever looked in my life and feeling just as bad. The doctor should've called it Revenge of the Chicken Pox.

I had my shots, like all good little boys and girls are supposed to before they enter school. But those shots wear off in the teenage years, and my travails on the Raytown South High debate team put me in contact with more than few communicable students from Blue Springs who happened to be dealing with their own outbreak.

It started deceptively. I remember going to the mall with my parents over break and feeling mildly sick, but I chalked it up to probably getting yet another cold. I had enough pep to go see The Naked Gun with the folks, but a few days after, that cold was draining me like no other I'd had. The Queen Mother, who also serves as the Royal Nurse, thought something else was going on. She started looking for other symptoms, and soon enough, we discovered a pinpoint rash on my chest.

"Ohhhhhh, he has it!" Her Majesty declared.

Nobody else in the family grew alarmed; they had either already had measles or had the shots. But your humble patient had to bear the horrifying red rash all over, the nausea, and all the side effects. We could treat the symptoms, but I mostly had to wait -- wait to fade, wait to regain my normal skin, which seemed at times a fantasy.

The fading came slowly, but it happened in time for me to return to school on time, right after New Year's Day. A teacher asked how my holiday was.

"Well, I had the measles."

She gasped. "You know I have to report that to the school nurse!"

"Go ahead," I said, knowing that nurse probably wouldn't be able to do anything more to stop that outbreak that made its way through me.

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