The Chicken Pox Vaccine

On Friday, I had a great day planned.  I was going to go get things for the garden, go shopping, and cake the birthday cake for Little A, who was turning three.  I was at the garden center when I got a call from M’s school: “Come get M, she’s got chicken pox.”

Immediately my heart sank.  I remember my childhood bout of chick pox quite vividly.  I spent ten days in utter misery, feverish, horribly itchy and aching so badly that even my eyes hurt.  I remember laying in bed without enough energy to read. As a teenager, I had to have surgery to remove a large pox scar on my face; thankfully you can’t see where it was now.

I picked up M and took her home, and gathered the materials I’d need for ten days of misery: Benadryl and calamine lotion recommended by her doctor, oatmeal baths, comfort foods, movies, fever reducers.  “Don’t worry,” the doctor said.  “Because she’s vaccinated, it won’t be too bad.”

I braced myself for a feverish, itchy, unhappy child.  M had other ideas.  M had maybe 25 small spots at most, and the Benadryl and calamine took care of the itching.  No, fever, no aching, no wanting to sleep all the time.  She ate well, ran and played, and slept regularly.  M’s worst symptom was being stir crazy from being quarantined.  And four days later, she was fully recovered, no longer contagious and back at school.  She’s healing rapidly and doesn’t appear to have any scarring.

I couldn’t believe it.  One of the illnesses I remember as the worst barely touched her.  Little A has yet to show any symptoms.  What I would have given to have had that vaccine as a child!  (I’m also very grateful that they were vaccinated against rotavirus, another one I had, and one of the few I thought might kill me, and frankly, at that point, I might not have cared much.)   I’m beyond happy at seeing the results of the vaccine.  No, it didn’t block the illness competely, but it certainly made it easier on my girls.

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